Be Careful What You Ask For

Now that life has calmed down (thank goodness), I am looking to make my life saner. And I’ve been doing fairly well with that.

One of my priorities has been trying to figure out how to get my house sold. It happens that one of my New Age-y friends knows a local realtor familiar with my neighborhood. She has given me his phone number and email. Why am I nervous about contacting him? I already have a realtor, but checking out what he has to say cannot hurt.

My pain seems habitual to some degree. But I am also oh, so tired of it. In “The Transformation”, Audre Lorde put it best:

“In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my own mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for in my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed I would have meant pain, or death. But we all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence.”

Looking at my own mortality this past summer has done something similar to me. Am I still nervous? Yeah, but I don’t want to die like this. Sure, I’m nervous; I just don’t care that I’m nervous anymore.

Part of making my life saner has been major decluttering. The issue, I have discovered, is a matter of letting go of everything. I am approaching 50 and just figuring this out now. Last year, I let go of so much that it hurt: possessions, money fixing up the house, relationships, illusions, Barry’s health, and even my possible life. It was not cathartic; it was traumatic. Nevertheless, my life was simplified, even clutter-wise, more than I ever imagined possible.

Every object represents something. A relationship. A hope. A dream. A cherished illusion. Once the underlying issue is resolved to some degree, the objects are easily discarded. The hard part is tossing objects with the meanings still attached. It resolves nothing and brings up the pain all over again. The internal work must be done first or the process doesn’t work.

I’ve been reading a book called Buddha’s Daughters, written by multiple women Buddhists. One of the authors is Anne Carolyn Klein, mentioning her teacher Khetsun Sangpo Rinpoche. He visited the University of Virginia and reminded his students “that so long as there is anything left to stir, paths of practice will stir them. It is like taking a whirling whisk to a floor. The floor might have seemed clean enough before we started sweeping, then the air gets so thick with dust we can hardly breathe. This means our sweeping is effective.” (p. 161)

This whole realtor thing raises questions. What on earth have I not let go of yet?



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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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