“We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart.”
– Pema Chödrön
I used to throw things away that reminded me of lost loves, drawings and journal entries that weren’t perfect, relevant, thoughtful. Some say that it’s healthy to go to the fire, to purge that which you think won’t let you move on. I think that’s why so many people go to Burning Man, to say goodbye to that which they couldn’t control, the thing that didn’t go their way. I believe we should do the exact opposite.
I keep some of these little relics, like the cheap necklace I was given by a young, handsome, crazy stalker, the garden gnome from linda-who-smoked and would give angel readings to those who believed, the poems from loves and not-so-loved, and the little glass bird my former co-worker brought me from Italy, given with insincere thanks for watching her bird for almost a month.
I keep these odd little gifts, because they remind me that the unwanted, and sometimes wanted, emotions we experience over time make up who we are, and our part of our collective experience. I like the grays of life, for example, would Jane really care if my sink was dirty, and if she did, could we still be friends. Or that snake slowly killing that mouse down in the wildflowers; how sad for the mouse but the snake had to eat. I have to stay with the randomness to keep the extremes at bay.
Today I was at the pet store and I got to watch the “store cat” try to jump up on one of the new soft dog crates, only for it to topple over on it. We were there to catch the crate, while the cat ran away looking pissed and embarrassed. We got a good laugh.
And then we drove home through South SF, enveloped in the smoke of a 4-alarm house fire in downtown. We caught a glimpse of the neighbors balancing themselves on the fence, watching the billows of gray smoke, and perhaps pondering the uncertainties of things.