Sunday, October 25, 2015

Enlightenment in a pair of boots

This is just to let you know: moments of enlightenment, however brief, can come in strange packages.

We have spent this past year and a half moving. We decided in the spring of 2014, given that my husband had gone from unemployed to retired, that we really could no longer afford to continue living in our lovely waterfront home.

So we began looking for a house: something smaller, cheaper, closer to town, with a studio for me and a view for him.  After a year of looking, we were forced to realize that we weren't going to find everything in one house (kind of like you can't find everything you're looking for in one mate!) and we needed to compromise.

It turned out that we could have cheaper, closer, a studio, or a view; pick any three.  So we chose the first three and sacrificed the view.  Which is harder for my husband than for me, as it turns out -- but actually, hard for me as well: the artist in me misses seeing the water, the mountains, the shorebirds, the boats, the beach... But I thought I was doing a good job of compensating by essentially painting what I missed.  And I didn't realize I was missing something more than that; that my ego had taken a hit.

And then came these boots.  Taos (one of the few brands of shoes I can actually wear without orthotics) Pride, in midnight blue.  I found them online by accident while doing my annual search for a pair of comfortable winter boots (I live in boots for three out of four seasons, so I go through a pair every year), and I fell in love.  Ordered what looked like it would be my size; they came; they were gorgeous; and they were too small.  Looked for the next size up (very hard to find by this time), ordered them, and they arrived but it turns out they'd not only given me the wrong color (teal, instead of midnight blue) but also that teal was really a dull blotchy gray.

Bummer.  I was seriously disappointed.By this time I had purchased both a dress and a little cloth purse in midnight blue, and was very excited about this new and actually rather unlikely outfit for me.  So late last night found me searching frantically online for some other blue boot to serve in this boot's stead.

Wrong.  On so many levels.  And I understood that, but I couldn't stop looking: at this point I was demonstrating some pretty serious addictive behavior, not that I could actually see or control that.

MEANWHILE, back at the ranch -- we are now living in our new log cabin in the woods, the old house will close at the end of this coming week (yay), we have moved the last of our belongings -- the really nice ones, that were being used to stage the house, into the new house (I spent much of the day yesterday arranging them and trying to find a place for everything) -- AND our daughter moved back in with us 2 days ago. 

It turns out that our daughter has discovered Eckhart Tolle (hurray!) So, since I had finished the book I was reading and looking for something to reread, I picked up my own copy of Tolle's New Earth and began reading.

Funny thing about that.  This morning's Tolle passage was all about how caught up we can become in finding our identity in our possessions.  In the words of the immortal Sheldon from Big Bang, BAZINGA!  Or maybe OUCH.

In one of those flashes of insight we occasionally stumble into, I realized that my identity was all tangled up with our beautiful waterfront home.  And now that it's really gone, and we're trying to stuff all our "things" into this newer, smaller, less impressive log cabin, I was feeling ... I don't know... somehow... less. 

So yes, it was the artist in me that was attracted to the boots in the first place -- hey, they're really pretty!  And they're BLUE! How cool is that? But what was initially an attraction became an obsession because some part of me had decided I would feel... like a cooler person, if I wore those boots.  Wearing a cool pair of boots had become, without my realizing it, a way to make up for the loss of identity, as if people might see I still had "IT" (whatever IT is) even though I no longer had my pretty waterfront home.

It's embarrassing, really, to realize how far off track you can get, and how quick the ego is to see an opportunity to jump in and take over.

I'm not going to apologize to myself for this.  Or berate myself -- I'm human, after all.  But it was lovely, having discovered the root of this obsession, to go into meditation with that knowledge, and to reach inside myself and re-awaken that larger me that lies beneath that boot-kicking ego; to feel again (after what has seemed like months of struggling with my busy monkey mind) that space and buoyancy that fills my cells, my bones, my veins; that vast and more connected self that looks at little me and my longing for pretty boots and chuckles gently and pats me on the head.

We are so much more than our homes, our clothes, our boots, our jobs, our possessions, our talents, our families, our lives.  We are so much more.  And it's so incredibly easy to forget that. 

So I bless the occasional moment when enlightenment hits; when I finally stop looking outside myself, and look instead for the space INside myself, that vast expanse of soul, and breathe into it, rest in it, and feel the buoyancy of love and acceptance that lives there.  And now, at last, though I have to confess I'm still looking for a pair of boots, I can chuckle a little at the silliness of my obsessions.

Yup.  I'm still a work in progress.  And it's all good.

No comments: