On losing things and finding things and non attachment
This month has been one of movement. Specifically, lots of losing things, and finding things. Letting things come and letting things go. On small things being big and on big things being small.
In the following blog, I’ll share a couple silly anecdotes of my recent quandaries, and the poignant lessons of nonattachment, or Aparigraha in yogic philosophy, that each illustrated.
Aparigraha, meaning non possessiveness, non greed and non grasping, asks us to look deeper at our cravings and interact with them in new ways. In exploring the practice of Aparigraha ‘we gain the ability to see how our desires affect what we experience in life.’ - The Yoga Sutras by Reverend Jaganath Carrera.
A practice of Aparigraha is about observing (and sometimes redirecting!) your perspective and attitude to what comes and what goes in life. It means losing things and finding things and standing on neutral ground either way.
The piece below moves through three recent anecdotes on the following topics:
On losing things / On finding things
On letting things come / On letting things go
On small things as big / On big things as small
It is presented non sequentially to provoke new thought. Also because #imaketherules
Read it in any order you wish over multiple sittings
On losing things
I broke my coffee maker. Straight up sabotaged this virtually indestructible giver of life force java. In a prolonged moment of haste and mind-less-ness, my poor sweet coffee cooker cooked itself over hard. A melted gasket and a coffee-less mug and a deep pang of loss.
From far beyond the craving for its caffeine delight, a sense of loss came up. Just the same way like the way the espresso came up from deep inside the chambers and overflowed like a maniac. I felt real sad, like I’d broken a family heirloom, or irreplaceable object. My venerable Bialetti, one of the few utilitarian trinkets that’s stuck around in an array of tumultuous situations over many years (spare you the details here, use your imagination), was kaputz. It’s coffee making days were over. And it was only in this moment that I finally recognized its true value. Its significance and importance to me.
And in that strange seemingly unproportional response of sadness to the loss of a very replaceable item, a tiny idea of hope came, ‘I’ll plant a seed inside.’
And just as quickly as that nostalgic sorrow of loss came up, so too, did a newfound celebratory mourning. Of #wuwei and #aparigraha of letting things go. Of repurposing that which seems lost and giving it new life. To use my prized old friend Mr. Bialetti to make a house for a new life. To plant a coffee bean inside.
On letting things come
I teach yoga. (You probably already know that if you’re reading this!) I put a lot of heart and passion into it. Sharing the practice of yoga is a privilege, and it’s incredibly gratifying.
When I moved to Miami I gave up a full time yoga teaching schedule. It had taken a long time to build up a network, fill my schedule, and create a ‘following,’ but it was very worth the reward. Talk about privilege: to make a living sharing my passion full time! to get paid to do what I love! I was very blessed.
But life in its mysterious ways dictated it was time to be elsewhere, and with a heavy heart, I walked away. With the bits of hope, courage and faith I could muster, I made my way to Miami.
It took a while. It took discipline, dedication, and effort, but I finally got a yoga studio gig. I’d be teaching one class a week at a small studio a couple of miles away. It was not a full time schedule with a network of familiar faces, but it was something. I just kept showing up. And slowly, one class turned into two, and two turned into three. I was letting it come and it did.
Then the time came to substitute a class at a different local studio. A bigger one. A longstanding one. A studio that was well known with great teachers and a lot of eager yoga students. I was pretty excited. And it went well.
And they invited me back. I just kept showing up. And slowly, subbing one class turned into subbing a few classes, turned into a permanent spot on the weekly schedule. It felt like a real honor to be a part of their yoga family. It felt like a lot of hard work and dedication had #paidoff (lol #makingmyselflaugh) It felt like giving up my full time schedule way back when was worth it.
If I hadn’t let it go of my full time schedule before, the one that had been such an effort to build, the one that was #hardashell to ‘willingly let go of’, I wouldn’t be here now. And we are always exactly where we need to be. Don’t you think?
I was privileged enough to share my dharma with the foundation of a well established local studio. As long as I allow it, a full time schedule would eventually come.
A few sprinkles of Aparigraha brought me to it.
On small things as big
I went on a trip to Israel. It was amazing. I was gone for 2+ weeks and my sweet baby house plants needed some care. (LOL I love plants, like: let me plant a coffee bean in a busted espresso maker level) There’s a whole bunch of them, erewhere, purifying the air, making happy. I'm not 'attached' per se, but they are important to me, and want to keep seeing them grow.
I’m not the most trusting, so I selectively asked a kind human to keep an eye out, come by and water the greens while I was gone and they obliged. I handed over keys and went on my merry way and hoped for the best.
When I got back and found my plants, erewhere, happy as could be, I was really grateful for the gesture. The discipline and the effort to keep my plants happy. I’ve heard horror stories about friends returning home to find plant cemeteries where thriving gardens of house plants had been.
Tending to my little garden.
It was a small thing, but it was big.
I wanted my plants to stay alive, and they did.
The person hung onto the keys, though. I suppose I’d inadvertently impressed that the keys were a long term offer. Like I said, I am not the most trusting, so I was ambivalent. Though it hadn’t been my initial intention, and, given the effort and demonstrated responsibility of my plant caretaker, it seemed like a good idea. Another ‘small things are big.’ I let it be that way and didn’t recollect said keys (#canyoublameme?)
On finding things
Mourning my bialetti, as ridiculous as that sounds, was therapeutic to say the least. I washed it clean for one last time and left it to dry thoroughly. In the next days I’d mentioned the sad news to fellow coffee conousors, friends, and those I'd shared a cup or two of it’s piping hot espresso with. I shamefully told them what had happened. The melted gasket. The coffee-less mug. The silly coffee bean idea. Partially in sorrow, partially motivated to ‘plant new seeds,’ (partially craving coffee so couldn't stop talking about it. #makingmyselflaugh)
Mourning is real, friends. Sometimes just talking about what we’ve lost helps us to reconfigure, to learn about our relationship to it and find new meaning. To observe attachments or lack thereof. The process of acknowledging what we miss and what we crave, helps put pieces together. To find ease.
So, we giggled about my carelessness, and funny adventures that venerable coffee maker had been through. I thought in gratitude back to all of the different stove tops and fire’s it sat on. Then, ultimately accepted its fate to Bialetti Heaven.
‘At least it’ll go on making coffee, in plant form,’ I said, as I wrapped up the silly story again, half knowing how silly I am, half so happy to be silly in the way aparigraha teaches, learning to let go with ease.
‘The gasket melted? That’s replaceable, Jenné,’ said one of the patient folks who listened to my espresso destruction story, ‘just buy a new one at Publix.’
And just like that, in the mourning, in the accepting, in the non grasping, its heavenbound fate was over. In sharing genuinely my silly but sentimental sense of loss, and acknowledging my attachment to it, the answer came.
Pleased to say Mr. Bialetti is back in action. And I’ve found out how much it means to me.
On letting things go
Sharing the practice of yoga is a privilege, and it’s incredibly gratifying.
But some things about yoga aren't so pretty. More specifically, the business side of yoga.
In all business dealings it can get sticky and complicated and can often get in the way of the true essence of yoga.
I lived in Miami for over a year before I was teaching in a space that felt like the right match.
But just as I’d finally adapted to letting things come, the time came to learn to let things go.
Somewhere between #knowyourworth and ‘don't listen to your critics, listen to your fans’ and don’t mistake my kindness for weakness, I realized it was time to take my passion elsewhere.
Albeit for very different reasons, it was time to let it go, yet again. Time to walk away from time, effort, network, community, that I’d built up. From what glittered like gold from a distance. Over nothing but sticky business. Over something so far from the true essence of yoga.
And Aparigraha came back. Time to trust. To have faith. To allow space. To let things, prized things, go.
On big things as small
I ran to the beach recently. (LOL still hate running btw) Been scheming and plotting and making sure to get the runs in even when it’s hard with a cramped schedule. So many logistics, in fact, that I’ve been able to narrow down what I’ve got to carry for the day and ultimately run to the beach from work with nothing but a phone and house keys.
Fortunately, on this particular day, a kind human would be joining me at the beach in time for a grand sunset and to offer a ride home (BC LOL lets be real, I’m not going to run home after I just ran there.) The same kind human, who had cared for my plants. Who obviously already knew that small things are big, cause my plants still alive making happy and who doesn’t love a grand sunset at the beach?
‘Thanks for the ride home,’ I said as I looked around the car, scanning for the house keys. No keys in site. Hand to face. I left my keys at the beach. WTF! A) how can I possibly lose another thing B) WTF?! How will I get inside? The beach is now closed and dark. Even in the morning it will be a stretch to find keys on a sandy beach.
Was it a miracle that I happened to catch a ride home that very day with the same kind human who still had my key? The one I wasn’t so sure of leaving with keys to begin with. From the same individual whose efforts and presence, at the very least, has sustained plant life in my home and saved my legs from an extra 4 miles of running? I suppose yes- it was a miracle. A big miracle in the form of small keys.
And with a magnetic #chinkchunk sound, they handed over the keys and I was able to get inside. And suddenly the ambivalence about leaving them with the keys that I was now holding, washed away.
And in the same fashion, the next morning, the kind human went to the beach on their own accord and looked for my house keys. Made a big old trip only to turn up empty handed with nothing but small grains of sand. That and the reassurance that this kind individual can be trusted with keys, and plants, and being kind. And doing big things even if they yield small results. (BC #kindnessmatters !) And that maybe I should be just a little more trusting.
And I eventually moseyed over to the beach. And I scouted out my little spot. And I put my #easteregghunting skills to use, and found my house keys. And I sang to the great sky with joy, ‘hallelujah,’ and ‘glory be,’ and smelled the salty air. Blessings be. Big blessings emanated from finding something so tiny.
And now, I’ve got both sets of keys. The keys I was so ambivalent about someone else having in the first place came back to me, without my trying. And suddenly now that I have them back, I realize I wish a kind human had them. I realize the value of trust.
And I wish I was a little better at accepting what is.
At letting things come.
At small things as big.
At letting things go.
At big things as small.
At having the ability to see how desire affects what we experience in life.
On all that's LOst and Found