If this is what we’ve got, then what we’ve got is gold
We’re shining bright and I want you, I want you to know
The morning’s on its way, our friends all say goodbye
There’s nowhere else to go, I hope that you’ll stay the night
~ “Stay the Night” by James Blunt
The Buddha taught about the importance of “anicca”; or impermanence. The description in Wikipedia is as follows:
All compounded phenomena (things and experiences) are inconstant, unsteady, and impermanent. Everything we can experience through our senses is made up of parts, and its existence is dependent on external conditions. Everything is in constant flux, and so conditions and the thing itself is constantly changing. Things are constantly coming into being, and ceasing to be. Nothing lasts.
The intention of this concept is to promote the idea of living in the present. Suffering is caused by not living in the “now”. There are amazing Buddhist sand artists that create complex and time consuming designs out of colored sand. Then, once it is finished, they sweep it away and start again. How I wish that I would lose my attachment to the external; to the past and to the future which may or may not ever come to be. It’s difficult to let go of the intangible. For me, it is even more difficult to let go of the tangible – movie tickets, postcards, photographs, etc. Each item serves as evidence to support a memory. I definitely have hoarding tendencies – and make a conscious effort to randomly throw out stuff sometimes, just to prove to myself that I can get by without it – even though it pains me to do so. My book collection is a prime example. Of course, there are others as well.
On my desk, I have tons of photographs and ‘knick knacks’. My three most important desk items are as follows:
- A small flower pot with silk pink daisies. The terracotta pot is covered in designs drawn in marker by a 5 year-old Girl Twin. It was my first “Mother’s day” present I ever received. It has sat on my desk for 7 years. It is one of my most beautiful possessions.
- A clear glass vase filled with blue post-it note flags and a small bouquet of three fake red roses. Wrapped around the stem of the roses is a small, long dead, wildflower. The post-it flags are supposed to be the water. This was a gift from NBF on our first Valentine’s Day. He asked what I liked and I said office supplies – especially post-it notes. And he delivered!
- A yellow document box. If you were to remove the lid of this box, you’d find my treasure – photographs and cards and trinkets that I often swap out with others on my desk, to keep things “fresh and new”. The box is to keep my desk collection ‘in check’, so it doesn’t get out of hand. Many people probably already think my desk is ‘distracting’ – but if I am spending 50+ hours a week sitting here, I want to be surrounded by things I love.
Thursday, I will be at a new desk, in a new building, for a new position at work. I am very excited – and intend on heading over there on Wednesday afternoon to get acclimated and set up everything. My existing desk is empty of everything personal except the terracotta flower pot, my laptop, and my nametag. My file cabinet is empty. My shelf is dusted off and has extra office supplies on it, for the next person who will reside in cube 2R118. I hope they make it theirs, like I made it mine.
Back to “anicca” – impermanence is the only constant in our world. I want to stop struggling against it. I want to acknowledge it and live accordingly. How do I do this? I don’t know the answers; heck, I don’t even know the questions. I’ll figure them out, though. Of this I am certain. The “answers are out there”, revealing themselves in every birth of a newborn and loss of an old friend. Even the love I feel for my children is constantly changing and evolving. Every day, I find new amazing and wonderful things about them. Every day, I fall in love just a little more than I did the day before.
I suppose, in many ways, impermanence is a gift. It means that I get to create a path and alter it, as needed, so that I focus on the journey itself, and not the destination waiting for me.
Yes, a very generous gift indeed.
PERSONAL NOTE: I love you and your amazing family. I hope that Japan is life-changing for you and that it brings you closer than ever before. Thank you to your amazing husband who serves our country and keeps us safe.
CONFIDENTIAL NOTE: Why do you play games? Just be honest – avoidance is cowardly. Grrrrr.