The junk drawer when I was growing up was always one of the most reliable places in my parents’ house. I knew exactly what I could find in there.
Rubberbands, a set of momma and baby orange-handled scissors that really cut things (you had to put these back after use), Mom’s yellow Skipper wallet from when she was a little girl, safety pins which were otherwise really hard to find, rubber jar lid grips that read “Vote for Ann Marie Doory,” birthday candles, a bottle opener shaped like a big-boobed mermaid hid in one of the back corners, maybe a quarter or two, and so many more treasures and items that fit no where else.
Chas’s and my junk drawer is much larger than the one I had growing up but it holds more or less the same types of things. Things that fit nowhere else. Things that you just might need but you don’t want to leave out around the house. Junk? Maybe not. Would you call Sharpies in all colors, junk? Cards from friends, a tabletop football, batteries when you don’t know which ones are alive and which are dead? Maybe we should call it the Treasure Drawer instead of the Junk Drawer.
The trunk of my car is similar to the Treasure Drawer. Sure, the other night I had to leave a box the size of a fat toddler at Chas’s parents’ house to fit a wheelchair in the trunk for an outing with Grandma. But, who knows when you will need a pair of tennis rackets? A softball glove, a coat that looks like a paper bag, a container of grits (just kidding, that opened and spread all over the trunk months ago), a weird-looking wrench a mechanic left in there, a few notebooks, my mom’s reacher fleet I keep meaning to return, a pair of shorts? I could keep going but you get the idea. The trunk of my Corolla is also a treasure trove.
My parents–let’s call them “Holders-Onto.” My trunk–I get it from my momma. I remember being at Whiz Car Wash one day about 15 years ago with the contents of the Sentra’s trunk strewn about the blacktop while the Whiz men vacuumed the interior. Aub, Mom, and I stood there next to a full-trunk-sized-pile of a strange mix of items. The car washers snickered as we waited ready to put it all back when they finished.
In addition, my parents’ living room has more books than most elementary school libraries. I’m a reaction to them in many ways (not in the way of books). Everything gets put away. Everything has a spot. We don’t need it? It goes. Even if my definition of “need” is still a little loose. My last hold outs of being born to a set of Holders-Onto: the junk drawer and the trunk (drawer).
That whole set up is the physical manifestation of what I have been thinking about this week. What do we hold onto in our heads and hearts that we could let go of? Yoga intentions are often about letting go–it’s hard to not sound uber yoga-cliche with this one. I think this is because the types of people attracted to hot power yoga tend to be a little Type A. We may lean toward the controlling side. Some of us may be there to have more bodily control, more mental control, more spiritual control. Control, control, control. Yoga really lends itself to the reminder of let it go. So I’d like to be a little more specific. What are the grudges, negative feelings, judgements, and little bits of self hatred that we can release?
Our world is no joke. Not in this moment, not in the past few months, not in the past year. There are bigger fish to fry than the bits of ugliness we hold onto, whether they’re for ourselves or for other people.
The other night, Chas, Freida, Cindy, and I were trying to park near the Hippodrome. From the window of a cheese bus ahead of us a preteen girl gave me the middle finger several times. I processed and then my first reaction was revenge.
“Let’s park near that bus so I can talk to her chaperone and tell that person what the blonde girl in the back seat just did!” I thought about it for several minutes despite the fact that we were trying to safely deliver a 94 year old angel to see The Lion King one more time. I considered how to find out which group of kids she was in, where the adult was, and thought about what I’d say. Shivers. As soon as I sat down next to Freida, I forgot. Unintentionally, I let it go. But really, I should have anyway. Clearly the little brat wanted attention and disruption and that’s what I gave her. I gave her my attention and I let her disrupt our evening. Being ignored would be the opposite of what she wanted.
Letting go of negativity is not just healthy, it’s extremely freeing. With my kids, the best thing to do is start each day new. I hear some pretty nasty words sometimes. But other than reminding them that this is not how we treat people, what good is it if I give a high eyebrow and a smirk? Will the girl I heard say “Fuck Ms. Eby” on Monday learn from me treating her the way she’s already used to being treated by most adults? Absolutely not. So I try to let it go and start fresh. I am trying.
In this first-world-world, it might be easy to forget that there are people with real problems. No need to list them here. You’re familiar with the world, right? Or our country? Or Baltimore? My new motto at work is: “This shit is urgent.” My need to report a 12 year old who knows not what she does by giving the middle finger to an anonymous person–much less urgent.
I would be better off channeling my energy to actual problems, letting go of things that do not serve me, releasing negativity that only brings me down and doesn’t achieve the retaliation (if that’s what it is) I am maybe seeking anyway. I think one of my favorite things about life is that you can always get better at living it. One of my favorite Core Power teachers, Cory, says “We practice yoga not to get better at yoga. We practice yoga to get better at living.” Yoga aside, we can always get better at living and I just love that reminder. So that’s what is resonating with me this week. Let the little things go. Let the junk drawer be. Let the trunk continue to be so multi-purpose and a little embarrassing. There are other things that matter and ain’t nobody got time for the little things that only beget negativity and ugliness.
Buddha (or at the very least, alleged-to-be-Buddha-according-to-the-Internet) is going to close out this week.
“There are three solutions to every problem: accept it, change it, or leave it. If you can’t accept it, change it. If you can’t change it, leave it.”
“You only lose what you cling to.”
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”
If it’s in your heart and it does not serve you, just let it go. And I will keep trying to do the same. Namaste, y’all.