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As I was sitting on the patio in a comfortable chair, enjoying the warm air of an Arizona evening, my 4-year-old daughter handed me necklace after necklace to put on. The necklaces were pink and purple with an occassional silver or white one thrown in. It was as if she had a bottomless pit of necklaces to hang around my neck. As I looked down at my collection of necklaces, I wondered, “Can life’s riches (typically jewelry more valuable than these plastic necklaces) weigh us down?”

If we weren’t hindered by our wealth, would we live our lives differently? Would we be willing to take more risks because we have nothing to lose? It seems as we gain money and valuables, we feel like they give us comfort and security. More comfort gives us more stuff to lose. We have nice things, yet I wonder if it just stresses us more because the ‘things’ are holding us back from true happiness.

Risks are for those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Do we stop pursuing our dreams because of fear? Or of losing what we have? If we always play it safe, we might never get what we really want and need. The heavy weight of our ‘necklaces’ strung around our necks pulls us down, closer to the ground. We become so heavy that we cannot move forward because we are so loaded down with our comfort and security.

The most important thing we have is us. What is inside. We are not defined by the stuff we have, or the things we surround ourselves with. I realize, as I sit here in my chair, the simplicity in which I could be happy. All the things around me – the air, the water in the pool, the light above my head and even the patio itself, are temporary. A pen and a notebook are all I need to write. A chair provides a place to relax, but any chair, pen or notebook would do. However, if I assume that all of the ‘stuff’ will be gone tomorrow, then when I wake up in the morning, I will experience excitement and euphoria that it is still there. Really? Or would I have more opportunity if I woke up to nothing? The best part of the day is waking up with the opportunity to live another day, to breathe another breath, or to run another mile. When the door of opportunity has opened, what will you do with yours?

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