Friday, April 9, 2010

Trading for Gold

In Geneen Roth's newest incredible book, Women, Food and God, Roth says, "We want to be thin because thinness is the purported currency of happiness and peace and contentment." Thinness is one pretty damn powerful currency in which so many of us trade. In that same paragraph in that same book, Roth adds, "Spiritual hunger can never be solved on the physical level." Stop. Back up. I know we're all real busy today, but that last sentence may just be pretty darn important. Are we looking for our souls or trading them in for junk?

Today I went by the bank to get some cash. Without thinking, I threw the $100 bill over to Taylor and said, "Hold this for a minute while I find my purse." Taylor dropped it in his Sprite. It was only paper--soaked paper. (Oh, what that could buy me.) Hear the word currency and you think money, don't you? Ok, leap with me....what about the currency on which we really and truly base our lives? Isn't currency really just what matters to us? It's the reward we're looking for and in which we trade. (Boy, I got deep here fast, didn't I?) Some "currencies" that jump right out are, of course, money--and then we have currency like our looks, our time, our intellect, our bodies, our approval, our things/possessions, our degrees/our education. Look at what we treasure. Pay attention to how we treat what we value...and there we'll each find our own labeled, signature currency. What is yours? Is anybody still with me? Hang on...please.

My guess is---is if you're anything like me, you may have spent a good part of the last 24 hours looking to something outside of yourself---to "fix" something like well...maybe your heart..or your soul---whatever feels lacking/empty. Maybe you thought a new house, a new dress, a new deck would fill up that empty space inside. Did it? I can always tell when I have a longing that I am not willing to name; I go shopping or I get something to eat. Both are temporary stop-gap measures. Ok. Ok. Do not say, "Oh, I hate it when Marianne talks like this...blah blah blah." Just hang a minute.
Today when I was driving to (what forever was called Hope Haven School for the Mentally Retarded) to pick up Taylor, it just struck me how often during my day, I have to shift currencies. When I am consumed in Taylor's world, what matters---what gets me "stuff" is being patient, being a good listener, doing the same task over and over again with joy. Buying brand names? Taylor has no interest. Your Salary? Whatever! You've published? Who cares? What you weigh? Not an issue. Who you know? We're all the same. Physical beauty? Taylor only sees beauty. CEO? Chief of Neurosurgery? Taylor wants to know if you have a dog.
Taylor's currency is different from the currency that enslaves me in the other half of my life. But, what is the exchange rate between his world and the rest of the world? Who uses what? What has more value? See, like just today, did any of you worry about how much money you make? Think about who you needed to impress just today for an interview, a date, to climb that social ladder. Admit it!) Spend money on a designer anything? And....what did it cost you? Maybe not in terms of dollars and cents, but today, what did your actions cost you? Did any part of your soul get chipped away?
Sometimes in my dazed currency confusion, my head spins. It seems like I need to ask the world, "Do you accept Deutsche Marks here? Or, tell me exactly what you accept here--that'll get me what I need." I have to quickly scan to see what currency the situation calls for: Authenticity? Pedigree driven? Competition? And then.... What does that cost? (Seriously--no bull-sh**ing.) I am so accustomed to Taylor's way of trading---up-front, no pretense, what you see is what you get, no schmoozing, no lying, no hidden agendas. That's how he works. That's what he has to barter with. But, what is the exchange rate for all that genuine stuff in our very real, knots-in-our-stomachs world? Is his barter worth anything?
I really like Taylor's currency.
$100 bill in his Sprite. Oops.
But please let's hold hands.
Please look right into my eyes.
Please let's stop, get out, and ride the scooter on this very grassy spot.
Please just sing with me.
And, Taylor does not give a rat's a** about the calorie count of six french fries.
Should all of that be traded in for gold?