On Having

This is a guest post by Connie Rose

What is it that we really have in this life?  I’ve been thinking a lot about the verb “to have,” and two basic concepts of “having” occur to me – one being in terms of possession, the other in terms of embracing.  

The first notion, possession, is about owning stuff, accruing material things, holding on to life physically and emotionally.  It’s acquisitive, accumulative and quantitative, it’s about obtaining things in life that we attach ourselves to in some way…like relationships and families, good jobs, nice homes, big salaries, lots of friends and social activities, travel and luxuries.  

Having, as such, often leads to judgment, usually of ourselves. How much do you have?  How much do I have?  Do I measure up if I don’t have as much as you have?  Have, in the outward sense, the material sense, the quantitative sense.  But all of these things that we acquire in life are transitory – we can’t take them with us when we leave.  So in the end it doesn’t really matter how much we own.

Having as possessing is also about experiencing the world, having experiences – direct observation or participation in an event, in other words.  And in this sense, having seems like a bridge to the next idea, embracing, which is more about what’s ours intrinsically, qualitatively, spiritually.

This level of having is not about stuff, it’s about who we are underneath all the trappings and our personal evolution into the beings we were meant to be.  “I have a big heart.”  “I have depth and compassion.”  “I have vision.”  These are things you can’t see.  And maybe because qualities are essentially invisible (although their results are often not), it is these very things that define who we really are.  We are spiritual non-form soul beings originally, having a physical human experience, all the while embracing, including, containing within us non-physical soul qualities.

As I’ve aged, owning stuff in the world has lost its appeal for me, especially more stuff than I truly need in order to feel happy and contented.  We pay a dear price for all that getting and all that holding on to that we humans do.  With fewer material things in our possession, we have room to embrace our soul qualities, to let them speak for who we are, to let our inner light shine.

“The less there is, the more important all of it becomes” (source unknown).  What I have now is more important than ever and defines me far better than anything I’ve ever possessed.  I have integrity, self honesty, creativity, artistic vision, joyful solitude, a big heart, a tender soul, and so much more.  I have the ability to see how beautiful the world is, to turn away from anything in life that threatens my inner peace, to nurture my soul, to continually become myself.  

Money and possessions simply can’t take the place of the inner security that’s part and parcel of embracing who we are on the inside.  These qualities are the only things worth having in the end.

©Connie Rose

Collage by Connie Rose

Connie Rose is a textile designer and digital photographer. She has been an artist and been on a personal healing journey for over forty years. She lives in rural Humboldt County, California.

Constance Rose Progressive Textiles


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2 thoughts on “On Having

  1. You’ve put what I think into words very well, Connie. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I’m dislodging myself day by day. I’m learning your lesson.

  2. This was beautifully stated. I just got back from vacation with family – mostly female – and we spent so much time shopping. It was fun. It had been so long for all of us to just enjoy buying jewelry and clothes at the art faires and little boutiques, but there was a point when each of us felt it was more of a nervous compulsion then a “having.” It was an old pattern of how we related. If we aren’t shopping, we are eating and drinking. Although eating and drinking is a lovely thing to do with family, it loses something when talk around the table is about the next meal instead of savoring the meal on the plate and the company sharing that meal. I am happy that there was recognition. The stirrings of the soul were giving us all a chance to reevaluate what it means to “have.”
    Reading your post upon my return was perfect for me.

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