Musings On Storms, Understanding Loss and Gain, and The Book

The storm does not need to be named. You remember it well when you survey the destruction left in its wake. The path of destruction  is also the path to restoration. Dark clouds move out revealing a shining sun, an odd color mixture of greys, blacks, blues, yellows and pinks. A familiar scent of fresh air and wet dirt. The sounds of creatures moving and birdsongs. Everyone is safe. This time. You are just shaken up, the house quaked like the roof was going to be blown away. The windows rattled, the back door flew open and loosened brush from the trees that beat the house rushed in. It was terrifying. Hot and cold air met to battle it out. Or maybe to dance; rejoicing in and celebrating your journey. Having finally made acquaintance, they have arrived to help you clean house and make room for those new delights. Because there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, its because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. Its your mission on earth…and when you want something, all the world conspires in helping you achieve it. [1]

In letting go of certain relationships I discovered that I was the only one holding on to them. Releasing creates a space that grimly resembles loneliness. I chose to see that space that surrounds me as fertile ground for the delights that will be in my life. A growing family, new friends and experiences. Life in its fullest where all of my senses are elated. Less anxiety. No negative stress. More love, support and lots of laughter. Treasure is uncovered by the force of flowing water, and it is buried by the same currents.[2] The things that were lost in the storm, those things which are either hard to replace by act, irreplaceable by design or unaffordable spiritually. Those items left room for better, more beautiful things. In rebuilding, I learned that there are things that I will never get back. Reciprocity, tears and a bit of sanity. Some mementos I gave away thinking that they would be appreciated in a new space. In hindsight, the throwing away was necessary. Things take up space and hold no importance. A replacement is just a replacement. The act of replacing an item lost turns it into nothing more than being a something that takes up space. The magic, gone forever. Dissipated during the storm.

I had a book. One of those things that I thought would be useful in the new place. I had no idea that its magic was lost in transportation. I set my mind to replace it. I would go to the bookstore with the intention of getting another copy. Only to see the book and be pulled away by a force of sadness and anger that would prevent me from engaging in the difficult act of replacement. I want MY book back. The one I read when I could barely see the words through my tears. That very book that inspires me each time I pick it up. The book I read on the plane when I went back to Trinidad as an adult. My return ticket used to hold my place. Everyone I’ve shared the book with underlined passages and made notations around the words that resonated. Mementoed bookmarks of photos, return tickets and pieces of paper were tucked in between pages. We carry the author’s words with us in our hearts, recalling them when the moment needed it. All this from a book right? Aye!? Just a book. I was careless with it. Giving it to someone who was less than deserving. So there I stood,  staring at the book wanting to be an indian giver. Takebacks! I want takebacks!

In sharing advice with a friend about his relationship concerns I began to understand my own struggles of faith, love, space and destiny. What belongs where and why? That “in love” feeling disappeared and he was no longer experiencing that heat  or passion. My suggestion to him was that as we grow there will be times when we find it imperative to let go of things that we once held dear. In that growth, we start to recognize how some people start to take up too much space in our lives. The result of you wanting something more, different, deeper. We’ve gotten what we needed. Some relationships are just a stop on the journey. A place where you pick up the tools necessary to continue on.  Our conversation took my mind to “him” and how as my connection to that infinite source gets stronger,the more intense the heat and passion with “him” becomes. It is a confusing, often vexing, mostly rewarding event for me. In sharing my views with my friend the confusion that was perplexing me went away. The A-Ha moment, I was really talking to myself. I got it. Like, when you were in school and you knew you had mastered the lesson because you can, like second nature, without hesitation answer the professor’s question to his satisfaction. “Thank you Ms. Latimer. Now let’s move on.”

Immediately after our talk I was compelled to go out and repurchase the book. Get to the bookstore and it is not in its usual spot. Disappointed, I think “well I do have the e-book version. It’s okay. It will be just a replacement anyway.” I continue to walk around the bookstore. A sliver of hope had me checking to see if maybe it was somewhere else. I could have just asked for help but I wanted to find it on my own and avoid any additional disappointment. I found myself in the fiction section right by the author’s books. A bit of excitement. I’m close. The spine looks different. The words are the same. This might be it! Its not. This is it! It’s new!! And explains why I could not find it. I had the 10th anniversary copy. They reissued a 25th anniversary copy. With drawings! Oh joy. Bigger. Prettier. Better. More message. A clean slate. A fresh jumping off point where the force of sadness and anger had been replaced by one of joy and excitement for a new beginning. The book was in a better place. Where it belonged. Where, when sought out properly, can be found.

Rumi said, “even if they are a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.” A delight indeed. While I will never receive reciprocity, get back my time, love, tears or that piece of sanity. I graciously accept Love, Purpose, Clarity, Understanding, my Light, Sanity and the 25th Anniversary copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Namaste Ya’ll


[1] King Melchizedek to Santiago the shepherd boy. The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho

[2] The Alchemist. Paulo Coelho

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