I often talk on here about living with more Joy in the moment....living without attachment to material things....living with depth and connection to Love, to people, to nature, to Spirit.
I thought I was pretty good about living without attachment, and for the most part, I Am. There are some material things around me that I enjoy either because of sentimental reasons, or the fact that they just delight me.
Last week we were at a BBQ / swim party at a friends place. I was having a lovely soak in the hot tub and Cary offered to get me a towel when I was finished. As he brought me the towel, I noticed that, out of the bag of towels that I had brought for us, he had chosen the towel that my brother had given me for Christmas when I was about 16 years old. He held it out and I saw the rainbow of colours and I thought of my brother. I remembered what great friends we were when we were living at home, how he was my idol, my mentor, my best friend. I was full of gratitude for my brother and for what we had shared when we were children / teenagers. As I wrapped that towel around me, I also wrapped myself in that love.
We went over and joined the others. I got changed into warmer clothes and left the towel hanging over the back of a chair.
There was a metal pole fence between the yard and the pond on the other side, with plenty of room in between the poles to be able to see the pond and the birds that live or visit there. My children noticed an ibis that was being attacked by a bush turkey. The ibis was limping and it was obvious that its leg and wing were broken. Several of us went through the gate to shoo the bush turkey away and to see what we could do. A lady volunteered to take the ibis to the bird hospital nearby. Someone found a box, but it didn't have a lid so someone went back to the swim area to get a towel to put over the top. Yep, they took my towel.
I knew that the ibis was covered in lice. I thought of my towel, now covered in lice. The towel that my brother had given me. That just a short time ago I had wrapped myself in, and through it, I had also wrapped myself in memories and love for my brother.
I whispered to Cary "they took my towel". He said that he had given it to them. I said sadly "that's the only thing I have that my brother ever gave me". I watched the lady walk away, happy that she was helping the bird, but sad in my heart that that 'thing', that old towel that was starting to fray in the corners, that trigger to what my brother had meant to me....was leaving my life.
I sat with that feeling for a few moments, it wasn't long, but it was deep. I realised that I really didn't need the towel to remember my brother and those early feelings. I could revisit them any time in my mind and my heart. I laughed with delight, and I let go of my attachment to the towel. I was more concerned about the ibis and I was grateful that the towel could be used in such a noble way.
I forgot about the towel until the lady returned from the bird hospital with the box she had left with. I saw her and thought that it was odd that she returned the lice-infested box. But she had brought the towel back in the box. Cary had gone to her when he heard that the towel had been special to me, and he asked her, if at all possible, to bring the towel back. I was touched by his effort. He even soaked the towel in boiling water to kill the lice. The towel though, was now just a towel to me, it no longer held attachment, but it did signify a good lesson, and a reminder that the material things around me can serve as triggers to memories, but those memories are always inside of me and the only thing that I need in order to access those, is the desire....a simple thought.