I used to be sort of a pack rat, and then I was robbed.
I don’t mean “robbed,” as in what happened in the Super Bowl. I mean, one minute I had lots of things. The next, I did not.
I was on my way to a vacation of skiing, dancing, swimming and then interviewing for a job at NBC. My friend picked me up at the airport, and then we made a quick stop downtown. When we opened the trunk of the car, everything was gone. Your guess is as good as mine.
This is what they took:
- My ‘interview’ suit, all my winter clothes and a pair of kick-ass red cowboy boots.
- A bathing suit that fit, favorite jeans and a to-die-for sequined sweater.
- Medicines including birth control. But, hey, I really wasn’t in the mood.
- A sentimental gift of a pair of Egyptian scarabs that were made into earrings.
- An equally sentimental gift of my sweet sixteen diamond earrings.
In other words, they took pretty much everything I owned, four suitcases in all.
But they also took this: My fear of loss.
Before the robbery I had a different relationship to stuff. I clung to it. I defined myself by it. My brands became my brand. Of course I have experienced greater hardship in my life. I’ve lost love, innocence and at times, hope. But losing my stuff was different.
I used to hold onto things the way overeaters might use food to protect them from being exposed to the world. There were certain items, like those red cowboy boots, that were coming with me to the next life.
Then everything changed.
After the robbery, I became less attached to things. I learned the lesson of travelling light. I went home and ironically, gave away most of what I hadn’t packed for that fateful trip. I wanted to shed the clutter and things that didn’t serve me well. Then I bought just a few good and necessary clothes.
Now I try to live without:
- The fear of losing something, because it could happen,
- The fear that the future won’t provide, because it usually does,
- The fear of losing the past, because it lives in the heart, not the closet.
The ‘Yoga’ Serenity Prayer
Universe, grant me strength to go for what is important,
Courage to let go of what does not serve,
And wisdom to know the difference.
I know this now: We are bigger than our stuff. Yoga shows us that our spirit is not defined by a pair of pants. It soars off the mat. What’s more, eventually I was able to replace some items with something better. Thank you, Universe.
However, I never did replace either the scarabs or the red cowboy boots. Perhaps it’s because I have been looking for what I used to have, and not for what I have become?
This may be the ultimate lesson of letting go. We get to start anew, if we are willing to shed the past and take the risk.
Inspiration brought to you by the Yogi Muse, a real voice in yoga.