Ten Thousand Days

These Foolish Things

May 13, 2022

Day 2822 – Day 2827

I’ve been clearing out things from my cupboards these past few weeks.  I’m in the mood to get rid of everything.

I released all of my research for my Master’s Thesis.  And, being a lover of all things South Asian, I am finally releasing many yoga/ayurveda/philosophy books from Gurus I have known and loved and my entire collection of Hindi films.   Even photographs have outlived their use –  the Temples at Tiruvannamalai and Arunachala mountain where I did several pilgrimages, the tea plantations of Ooty, Kovalum beach,  the slums of Mumbai, and the late afternoon lovers’ walk at Juhu’s Chowpatty beach – these are all a part of me now.

And yet, it is the sentimental things that keep getting fished out of the pile to take to the charity shop – that book that was inscribed by a summer lover, all the books written by friends, and those inscribed by famous heroes of mine.

My mother passed away so many years ago that memory becomes challenged.  I remember that she wore a pink sweater and I used to tease her for being so brightly clad.  But, when she passed, I kept that sweater.  I never thought I could ever part with that sweater because it embodied a story that she and I shared.  I have now only kept a single button to remind me.

We need a few touchstones in our lives, and these foolish things, remind me.

Keeping some things is unhelpful.  What do I do with the 8 foot by 4 foot painting that was painted by the Young Man who ended up being so horrible to me?  I don’t want his energy in my house – and yet, the painting cost me a lot of money.  I’ve tried to donate it but even that is problematic, as I’ve discovered in my many attempts.  This is, as yet, a problem that remains unresolved.  Throwing out art seems wrong, but it may simply get left somewhere as a charity shop donation and the financial hit will be my touchstone and reminder of a hard-earned lesson.

As I purged my second bookcase last night, I came across a special postcard I had purchased for the man who keeps appearing in my dreams.  He is a writer and in one of his most beautiful pieces, he describes a yearning  to connect remotely with people in a small town, Ituna, via the airwaves.  Having uprooted my cosmopolitan life to return to my family in this rural and companionless life (that is most unsuitable for me), that particular piece of writing touched my heart.

When Covid hit, he said he’d like to receive postcards.   I considered asking the Ituna chamber of commerce to send him one but everything was in Lockdown.  In my travels around the internet, I found an Australian with a vintage photo (c 1900) of Ituna, Saskatchewan that had been turned into a postcard.  And so, I corresponded with the kind owner and bought the postcard.  It wasn’t posted until June, and with the Covid shipping slowdown, it arrived several months later, in late Summer, 2020.  By then, there was tension between myself and the man for whom it was intended.  I never sent it onward.

I had forgotten that I had tucked it away on the top of my bookcase, in case things changed between us.   My intention was generous: to send it with a kind note about his writing.  I’ve done that already several times, just without the benefit of a vintage card.

 

 

Perhaps I can make a piece of art out of the card and out of the beautiful Australian stamps that decorate the mailer in which it was so carefully shipped.  Perhaps, in that act of transformation, the card – which connected me to a stranger in Australia, which once held hope of another connection, which memorializes 3 people and a hotel long gone, and which has already travelled around the world to come to rest with me – will then fulfil its purpose of expressing the human yearning to connect.

I will give my heart to beauty, and create something new from this.

 


We need some foolish things to remind us, and there are some things we need to let go.

As I part with these things, I am thankful for the good experiences that they represent, like graduating from the London School of Economics, and visiting so many countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South Asia.  I am also noting the progress I have made, in learning the lessons that the more challenging memories evoke.

In every item, there is a decision – does this represent who I am now, and who I want to become? Can the item and I both fulfill our purpose by staying together?  If the answer is no, it is time to thank it and let it go.

I hope that if you are spring cleaning, that you will be gifted with the spirit of non-attachment and hold only those foolish things that are truly meaningful to you.  Meaning is what we make of our lives and meaning remains, independent of the things.

I hope that you will be able to release those belongings which no longer belong with you.

 

For what are you most grateful, today?

 

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