Looking Deeply and Seeing Abundance in My Jar of Trail Mix
I keep a jar of trail mix at my desk. The other day, I was looking into it. OK, I’ll be honest: I was…meditating on my jar of trail mix. I didn’t even try. It was a reflex.*
At first, all I saw was the rich beauty of what was in my jar. (That’s not my photo, above, but my particular mix looks a lot like that.)
What I Felt
I felt lucky! I’m not big on “deserving.” I’ve basically taken it out of my vocabulary because it’s so dicey. (If you don’t believe me, try this.) I didn’t (at first) think, “Wow, check out this trail mix I provided for myself. I’m so smart and capable, I provide so well for myself.”
I felt blessed: my jar is recycled, convenient, never seems to attract bugs and lets me nourish myself yummily and easily mid-workday.
As I kept looking, I considered feeling deserving. (My culture says it’s a normal way to feel: look at this wonderfulness I possess, there must be some reason for it. Ah! I know! I must be wonderful.)
We are wonderful. But that doesn’t prove anything about what we own. Notice that everyone is wonderful by their very nature (if not always by our actions). Yet others don’t all possess the wonderfulness we possess. (I’m sure you’ve noticed.)
And we are often ungrateful because we feel we deserve some other person’s wonderfulness.
What I Felt
Privilege. There! I felt it. Privilege–when you are white, well-educated, able-bodied, straight-looking, and speak American-accented English–is the air you breathe, the water you swim in. Privilege is often hard to actually feel.
Privilege is what makes people like me think we deserve what we have.
Keeping on Looking
I didn’t freak out. I didn’t turn away. Privilege is. We all have some. Some have a lot. I kept looking deeply.
The thing with privilege is not to look away.
What I Saw
I saw that I am able provide well for myself with very little work for pay because I have an amazing living situation. My amazing living situation exists because I was in the right place at the right time to meet my sweetie, who has a house.
I was in that right place at that right time because of my work. My work was made possible by my education. My education was easy to get because I had parents who were highly educated. That’s the single biggest predictor of getting a lot of education. (I have more than most people want, but I’m happy.)
And then I realized: look at this wonderfulness I possess, there must be some reason for it. Ah! I know! Privilege.
Looking deeply into abundance, I still felt blessed.
If you’d like to explore privilege as part of your “inherited wealth,” click here.