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Natural Awakenings Washington DC Metro

Letter from the Publisher

Oct 30, 2015 10:34PM
Over the summer, I got to see in concert, one of my favorite bands, the Bare Naked Ladies. The concert was fabulous and they played many favorites as well as introduced a few songs from their new album. Anyone who listens to them knows full well that the band is just plain fun. They inspire joy and have great choruses that practically beg you to sing along—which I do, robustly. My son, Aaron, first introduced me the band when he was in middle school, many years ago. The song was, “If I Had a Million Dollars,” and it still makes me smile every time I hear about fancy “Dijon Ketchup”.

After singing about all the interesting things you could buy if you had a million dollars (a K car, a tree fort, an ottoman and of course, a monkey), the band sings, “If I had a million dollars . . . I’d be rich.” I think they capture a sentiment to which most Americans subscribe—that money makes one rich and a million dollars is certainly a good start toward that goal. But what does it really take for us to be rich? What, in essence, is the source of our true wealth?

This is the theme we explore this month—looking at alternative visions of wealth and discovering how to find richness in our lives. There is a growing genre of self-help books on the shelves that provide counsel on how to pare down possessions and redefine the elements that occupy our space. Some of the authors come from different realms, like Suze Orman and Arianna Huffington. They have something important to say about the ways we can create new relationships to the things that we own and where we can look to find true wealth—such as in our personal connections, within our communities and with our time.

I just started reading the New York Times bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, written by Marie Kondo. She encourages her readers to change their lives as they declutter and sort books, clothes, paper, with her KonMari Method. In the paring down, the point is to find the items that spark joy in the owner’s life. There is so much more to decluttering the junk that surrounds us. My college textbooks no longer have value to me and do not make me a “wealthy” person, so it is time that they go—along with so many other books that sit on my shelves.

As I ponder the winnowing process that will inevitably come from this reading, I am challenging myself to approach the challenge with a profound sense of gratitude. This is, after all, the month when we come together to offer thanks for all that we have. This yearly exercise is important but the research on gratitude shows that it is so vital to our personal happiness and general well-being to approach each day with a heart full of thankfulness.

Shawn Achor’s TED talk, The Happy Secret to Better Work, has been viewed nearly 12 million times, and for good reason. At Harvard, Achor did extensive research on what makes individuals happy and found that “It is not necessarily the reality that shapes the world but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality.” If every day is seen as a gift, then we should be saying “thank you” a lot more.

So, thank you, dear readers, for joining me on this journey to health, happiness and well-being. I am grateful for all the notes and calls of support that you give the magazine, our writers and advertisers and feel blessed that you rely on us each month. Happy Thanksgiving!




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