I’ve been thinking lately about greed. Cliche’, I know, to think about it around the holidays, but there you have it. When you google “greed” images, you get stuff like this:
It’s almost always a white male, and there’s always money involved.
But lately, and much to my chagrin, I’ve discovered that I too am greedy. But not necessarily about money. I’m greedy for avenues of learning. For example: I own a guitar that I never play (but I could learn). I bought Photoshop CS6! Because I wanted to design really cool flyers and posters for my yoga workshops and concerts. There’s a very steep learning curve, but this only fueled my desire. I WILL LEARN IT. I subscribed for a year to Adobe Creative Cloud (tutorials about Adobe products, Photoshop, InDesign, etc.). This was short-lived. Most all of it was over my head, and I realized I’d need more training just to understand the tutorials. Same with lynda.com (an equally short-lived experiment in learning wordpress, so I could design my own website). Then there are the online quilting and cooking classes (especially the croissant class, taught by a woman who taught at the French Culinary Institute!). What do all those things have in common? It’s all Stuff I Want To Learn To Do. It’s all stuff rotting in my computer, while I pretend I’m actually using it. (Insert here cool graphic that I don’t know how to create—of laptop with rotting guitars, moldy croissants and aging computer programs inside. I am sitting at laptop, a bubble over my head with a picture in it of me designing, baking, playing guitar, totally rocking all those activities). The definition of greed is “excessive or rapacious desire.” Allrighty then. What I have just described is an excessive and rapacious desire for avenues of learning.
On the other side of this argument there’s my actual learning. My concerted and sincere efforts in the direction of my passion: yoga. I am taking an online anatomy class from Amy Matthews that is profoundly informative and useful. I just attended an inspiring and relevant weekend workshop in Manhattan, “The Science of the Private Lesson,” given by Francesca Cervero. In January I’ll be working with Justin Michael Williams, a yogi and social media expert in Los Angeles. I have also attended quilting classes that have expanded my skills and enabled me to create ever more beautiful gifts for my friends and family. Those are avenues for learning being taken. I’m walking them. I’m chewing up real estate with my feet and my mind, making progress, becoming more skilled.
What falls under the term “greed,” though, is anything I have that I don’t use. Anything I procured because of strong (or blind, obsessive) desire, but didn’t process. The inversion table. The exercise trampoline. The Neat Desktop Scanner. The art kit I bought to go with the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. The racket ball rackets. And all those fine but untouched avenues for learning—Creative Cloud, lynda.com, crafts.com. This holiday, as I pare down my possessions in an attempt to simplify my life, I will also be paring down the learning. Getting more realistic about what I truly need to know.
I’m almost 60 years old. As it happens, I will not be able to do it all as originally planned. So what is most important? What do I truly need? What can I live without knowing how to do? What can I live without knowing?
Good meditation subject for the foreseeable future.
Namaste, my friends.
Yours, in greed and goodness,
Since we’re all in this together, you wanna have a conversation? Where does your greed show up? And what do you do about it? I’m interested in real answers.