Gratitude, Joy, Oneness and Service (Day 635 – Day 636)
I live in a small place. I’m efficient and organised at work but at home…well…my paperwork gets thrown into a box on the desk. And when that is full, it gets emptied into the box under the bed. This morning I had two overflowing boxes on the desk and two boxes under the bed. The papers have been staring at me, mocking me, for weeks.
Today, I had a writing deadline for an interview.
So, of course, I sorted my paperwork.
Now, because I am going between two tax regimes this year and am self employed, I tend to keep every receipt that has ever entered my wallet. My weekly grocery shop – much to my chagrin – is not a deductible expense, so it was the first to make the transition to the rubbish bin.
And, I seem to attract people who want to give me their card. I look at the card and 9 times out of 10 I can’t for the life of me remember who the person was or why they gave it to me. I have a card. It is useless. And so, it is next into the bin.
In this mass of “treasured” paper is a whole lot of rubbish. Two bin bags full, it turns out, today. Yes, there are bank statements, and the odd bit of important correspondence, but by and large, it’s rubbish.
Now, as a writer I could be forgiven for holding on to so much paper – it is my stock and trade. But the grocery receipts are just a step too far. Still, hidden under two small desk boxes and two under the bed boxes were some real treasures.
I have a storage locker. In it, there are 4 boxes. One is my tax files. Another is a box of books. The other two contain medical files, course notes and loads and loads of writing. This is all the paper I will keep. The rest is recycled. But hidden in this pile of rubbish was the beginning of a novel from last year, letters to loved ones I never mailed, notes from personal development courses, letters to “myself at 80” and a whole lot of writing ideas.
I used to write fiction and drama and I stopped when I got tired of writing dramatic but tragic stories. Drama is easy if we revert to tragedy. But it is oh, so easy, to get stuck there. It takes a quiet confidence to be able to tell a story of triumph. Last year, I started brainstorming ideas for fictionalising my life story (it is pretty unusual, so even the true story might read like magic realism!) I was delighted to find this note to myself, scribbled in the margin:
Why, indeed? I have run across this note in the margin of my ‘ideas’ book a few times already, and it makes me chuckle every time. Why are we here, if not to live a happy life, complete with a happy ending?
I have art by Plin and Skeleton Cardboard, a few drawings by me, some bits and pieces from fellow writer TCBC and a couple of mind maps above my desk. I think I will post this up, a great reminder, every day, of what it is I’m trying to make out of this life and the story it will tell.
Lest you think I am always Sally Sunshine and rainbows and care bears follow me everywhere, I also came across this little tidbit which clearly was occupying my mind instead of whatever professional course I was supposed to be undertaking:
Rather ominous words. I thought for a long time to try to recall the context of this quote and what had made me scribble it – and only it – on a full sized sheet of A4 paper.
And then I started to put the pieces together. I am trying to live in the light and to spread that light in the world, but I am very aware that the world around me is darkening at an accelerating rate. The system is broken and our way of life has become unsustainable. This paradigm in which we live is an enchanting illusion but it is really deceptive and dark and I do believe the paradigm will shift, but I’m not sure that it will be in my lifetime.
I found these words felt very much like the sentiments being repeated after 9/11 in America. These words were from of a press conference by a world leader, following the terrorist attacks in Paris, last November. The words shot through me like a flaming arrow and made me wonder what hell lay ahead, in terms of civil liberties and war.
Spoken like a battle cry, I will keep this paper and the words, and I will turn it upside down in its context. There are darkening forces in the world that would stop at nothing to extinguish the light in the hearts of us all. And in the face of that threat, I say: “It may take a very long time, but they will be defeated.”
And then there is the personal. Hidden under the bed was the cry of a grieving heart, and I am grateful that she has moved through and healed her torment:
I really don’t recognize the version of myself who wrote this. Perhaps I don’t want to recognize her. Perhaps a little of her lurks in all our hearts when we love and experience loss.
Looking through the boxes, I found the various lists of qualities I liked about J, and about P, and about M – every man I’ve ever loved, as an adult:
* Great sense of humour
* Financially independent
* Loves me
* Treats me well
Each had a few variations but the list is always pretty much the same. I am pretty sure that either I seek out men of the same type, or I wear rose coloured glasses and project my animus onto whatever man takes my fancy. It is probably a little bit of both. I am grateful that I have somehow, for some reason, kept all of these lists over the years to remind me to be grateful for each of the men in my life who have been all this and more. I can see the thread of Oneness in all the Love, pure and simple, that has been reflected in all the faces of the Beloved in my life.
There were so many word-snapshots of different versions of myself in those boxes today. It was a joy to encounter them all and a service to honour each version of myself as part of the whole.
Pages from a journal, letters that I will never send, mind maps of my life’s purpose. All of these treasures were like messages from my soul, from the unchanging part of myself that is the container for the heartbroken, the optimist, the wary cycnic, and the romantic. I am every one of these people and more. And I am grateful for the words they have left behind.
The meaning of our lives doesn’t announce itself in neon lights, suddenly, one day. It is hidden in the scraps of paper and in the photos and the little keepsakes that remind us of others that we – for some reason – keep tucked away. Every once in awhile we need to have a clear out and find those pieces of the puzzle that makes up the map of the human heart and to sit and read the messages from the soul, that lay hidden in boxes under the bed.
For what are you grateful, today?