Precious Things

“Find a precious thing, something that matters to you, and holds meaning in your life,

and write about it.”

 I choked on these words. That this writing prompt would arrive today, was more than irony; it was a taunt. This was the frequently postponed day that I had set aside for my personal expression in language. Precious “things” were the last thing I wanted to entertain. In the midst of movement, “things,” held no shiny appeal to me on this day.

 I have spent several weeks packing, sorting, and severing connections to all manner of solid things. Too worn sneakers were easy, gathered rocks from my travels, travel well.  It was letting go of the “Precious Things” that hadn’t left the plastic bin in years that held the angst. I know for sure that some of them were, yes…precious. I had traced the provenance of one bin of condensed personal history back 4 moves and two cross-continental truck rides.  And yet, it had never left the box to be welcomed into my daily presence.  It was just that laden with ambiguity.

I have held an image in my mind of my then, 3-year-old Granddaughter dancing on the ottoman, belting out “Let it go! Let it go!” This has always been my anthem. It does get easier with age, but I am getting close to bone here. There were some things, precious and otherwise, that rose like misty malevolent specters as I cracked open the lid. They snarled at me as the smell filled my nose, “Are you REALLY going to just stuff me in a garbage bag to be forever entombed in a Florida landfill? Really?? What kind of person are you to be so callous?”

No, I did not plan this day, my self-granted day of creativity, to dialogue with relics of the past. I will not go to Goodwill and reclaim my faithful backpack with the hidden passport pocket that helped me feel plucky and brave in Shanghai.  I will not mourn the loss of a soft velvet blazer in chocolate hues that was a staple of my wardrobe of confidence when I held a position of respect in difficult scenarios.  It doesn’t fit anymore and hasn’t for quite a long time. I didn’t let this go with callous disregard, I sent them out with love, seeding to the next wearer some ineffable quality that had used me as a host.

Yes, I asked for this. I asked for the prompt, I asked for the experience. These terrorizing words didn’t drop down out of the heavens.  I had invoked these weekly inspirations as a gift to myself, on behalf of my silent and seemingly dormant creativity. There was no concrete reason why the words stopped flowing and the canvas was blank. No reason except my abandonment of the importance of sharing ourselves and our gifts with others. This is Phase I:

 “I am addressing this situation by clearing the flotsam. Creating space that allows the surprising and exciting pivots in life that are the true freedom of personal evolution. I’ve never seen a tortoise with an extra shell.” -Me

 Yes, this is a “walk your talk” week. Re-reading the prompt, I thought out loud,

“I don’t do precious.”

 I had made a pact with myself that I would feel all that there was to be felt. I would acknowledge and experience any and all unexpressed emotions as they were evoked. If I need to cry in joy over my daughter’s Minnie Mouse nightgown in size 3, or my son’s fuzzy yellow duck, so be it.  I am dismantling this home and hearth with the lofty intention of consciously creating a life more congruent with freedom and immediacy. Nothing new can come in while the cupboards are full, hence, the metaphor, “Let’s clean house!”

 I named it “Zen-sizing.”

In two weeks, we are moving to a smaller and more intimate home, a short distance from here. After 3 years, I am leaving my 33 trees on .3 acres behind fences of iron and electronic gates to reside in a home where my neighbor sleeps only 15 feet away. I am, however, in the same Crow air space. The same Osprey flies overhead, and the cadre of Ibis that patrol these over tended greens, do so on both sides of the street. It is not a big leap.  It is a movement towards freedom of spirit, via traveling light. 

The ability to move with the wind is important to me.

I need to rest after this sentence. I need to pause. I will breathe, and reaffirm that this is my very intentional and well-guided choice, however panic-inducing it may feel in this moment.  It has been a quiet and solitary journey.  This week, my own “knowing” is nagging me like a whining child with a mild fever. My inner SHE is demanding that I listen and respond to that soft and persistent voice that has no need for the validation of past things or precious icons.

 My desire to express my authentic self has been brilliantly embodied by my life’s partner’s beloved dog. I am being haunted by a Golden Retriever and his need to always be in connection with his people. His knowing eyes, his coy movement onto the forbidden couch all communicate, “Home is where you are.” He who naps frequently knows the ways of wily wisdom, and he is a master. He is completely true to himself and never misses an opportunity for self-expression.

I can see him sizing me up.

“She doesn’t like cloying sentimentality.” He thinks. “I will be her faithful, albeit not courageous companion. Better to “cleave unto” she who is here.” And indeed, he has. He has aligned his innate divine skills of support and love to match she who is assigned to his comfort. All is well in his world because he has someone to mirror his warmth and love. His is the most mutable of souls. Mutable is good, mutable survives all. Mutable gets the treats.

It is my overarching, inner “SHE” that has waited in the ethers to be heard. “SHE is attentive to every detail of my mutterings and machinations on an unimaginable scale, across a thousand lives, above time. SHE is the voice of love, the force that animates our lives.  How often are we too busy DOING and tending to things, to acknowledge that miracle of being alive? And its corollary; the power to change our life, by changing our thoughts and actions?

 I am convinced that it is the HOW of life that is the whole story. I can feel the call to simplicity and freedom. So why am I letting myself be engaged in some introspection of the flotsam of life? Because I invoked the clearing of the obstacles.  If you invite the Shadow to visit, it’s best to let her in lest she get surly in her impatience to manifest what you have invoked. I decided that I would indeed dialogue with something precious today.  I will speak and listen to… an empty box. What does spacious emptiness have to tell me?

“Take all the time you need,” SHE says with a touch of sarcasm,

“Throw up as many obstacles to your life’s path as you will to need to justify your thoughts and fuel your actions.

Have fun with it!

Create your intrigues and your endless messes. By all means, find someone or something to blame. Go ahead! Stuff your emotions!

Take your time, I’ll be here when you are ready to experience yourself.” Said SHE.

The mud on your boots from the manure of life is easy to see when you track it in through your heart and home. This is not a muse, it is the voice of the energy animating my inanimate matter, in my particular flavor. This is why I am here.

Again, I need to pause, revelation doesn’t blast its way in through the constricted pathways of a conventional life. Unless of course, you ask it to, by invocation or intention. Which I can see now, I clearly have done. By design, I think revelation meanders a path through each life like a slow-moving river, complete with curves and eddies and piles of silt awaiting a good stormy cleanout. In allowing myself to be prompted by the prompt, I have called in the storm.

 This isn’t an airy enquiry of “what’s important to me?” This is the raison d’etre of stuffing infinite multifocal spirits into stiff limited human bodies.  It’s not the challenges that will send you crashing, it’s the chafe of too small thoughts, and too small actions, in too small bodies.

“My feet are leaden but my wings still work.”

 I heard myself say this out loud to this too cavernous space of 1987 edition of suburban swampland reality. Once I opened the door, the flow of suggestion was seamless. Not so much a Post-it note on the Fridge as jolt of high-octane imagination where everything is possible. Divinity is everywhere if you can just find the remote.

In one of my “old house”, to “new house” jaunts across the street, I saw an alligator, a big one.  The kind that doesn’t move even under scrutiny. She was lying in the sun beside the manmade pond that drains the rainwater between these two communities. These communities that I have come to understand as the Insular and the Collective.  I have named them for the amount of space between these containers of intentional lives. I have lived in Insular but I am moving into the Collective.

I understood the omen when I saw her. She was laying provocatively just outside the flimsy protection of a tidy screen porch. I have been digesting the scene slowly with some detached humor. Nothing is wasted, everything will be consumed by something. Transmuted and reimagined endlessly, the energy of life asks only to be expressed.

The how is up to us.