The life philosophy that is so perfectly captured in an ancient Scots expression of “what’s meant for you will not pass you by” is how I have always chosen to live. Everything either is, or, it is not. There might be a desire but there is not expectation – expectations carry the potential for disappointment. No one likes disappointment. No, I would rather live in a place of delight when something wonderful happens than be disappointed by people, events or life itself. In such a mindset the glass always is at least 1/2 full, if it isn’t overflowing! Within this is also the deeply rooted principle that there is nothing that I have to have. Absolutely, NOTHING.
As a six year old child my beloved, adopted, Aunt Dorothy had a price tag on every single thing in her home (and in the log cabin behind it) – she had an antiques business. I recall being allowed to pick up luminescent carved jade Buddhas only to discover a (shocking amount) tag on the base. Such embeds in a child’s mindset that all possessions are transient and that we are only their temporary guardians – this carries you through life with a certain ease of not holding the bouquet of life too tightly about anything. Of not trying to control or worrying, of rarely angering and not certainly screaming when I do, of living in each precious moment, of being able to let go of things (and sometimes people, and definitely jobs) rather than have resentment consume me. Doing this ensures that nothing becomes a burden, or impedes my personal journey toward enlightenment. In life there are many things that will ‘no longer serve’ and in releasing, while painful, is (eventually) liberating. That is not meant to read as being heartless but I truly (also) believe in the profound words of Ecclesiastes 3:1 as found in the 1967 song by The Byrds – to everything there is a season.
I love estate sales. I am sure the idea of poking through the possessions of the dead will creep some out, but for me (and quite of few like me) it is a source of unlimited potential of discovered (often inexpensive) material happiness. Last week my girlfriend Kanikaa and I went to two estate sales. Having over the course of the last year sold off ALL of my various chairs I wanted but one thing at the first one – the armchair frame in the French Louis XVI style (to cover – at least the front of it – in this totally wild 1940s vintage Chinese silk brocade that was once a long, full skirt). Assuming I was lucky enough to get it, I had set a budget of $65 for it. The chair frame was anomaly – the rest of the house was decidedly Mid-Century Modern. Even arriving by 7:30 AM for a sale that started at 9, Kanikaa and I wound up with temporary numbers 14 and 15. I believe in ‘putting it out there’ if there is something I would like to manifest. Thankfully I will talk to anyone. At 8:30 I approached the vehicle with the two women who had given out the temporary numbers with Kanikaa. It turns out that Arielle and Amanda have a shop, they had arrived at 5 AM to be the first two in the door, and they were only interested in Mid-Century Modern. Also thankfully they were more than happy to put a sold tag on the chair frame ‘for me’. You can imagine my delight, when we were let in in the second group, to discover that it wasn’t simply one chair, but a matching pair! And, AND, each chair was priced at a mere TWENTY-DOLLARS! So, while I might have been delighted with one, to get a pair for less than what I had budgeted for one? WooHoo! would be putting it mildly. But here’s where it gets even better – ultimately the frames became FREE. How you say? Within hours of arriving home I discovered that an étagère that I had listed on eBay would definitely sell – recovering of what I had spent on it in the first place after five years of enjoyment and a modest profit which completely covered the $43.20 expended on the chairs. 😀 These are not fine French antiques, rather they are vintage hardwood frames from a now defunct furniture company in Grand Rapids, Michigan – the original paper labels are on them – I don’t believe they have ever actually been upholstered.
My girlfriend Doris, who also spent many years with a bona fide antiques business, offered her congratulations and expressed “Sometimes I wonder about you and how everything always works out.” (For other examples of these minor victories over material things please see the posts Pursuit and An utterly incongruent story of six lamps.)
Kanikaa asked as we returned home – me flying higher than a kite with happiness – how I would have gotten to the sale if she hadn’t driven, and I said I wouldn’t. But, she said, but you wanted the chair. Yes, I replied, but there is absolutely nothing I have to have, and there will always be another chair. Still, I am thrilled with the gift of the universe saying yes – once again – and everything working out for me – without expectations. The bonus is the ridiculously happy memory shared with my girlfriend.
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