instead of re-reading The Untethered Soul in great, uninterrupted chunks, as i imagine those stranded on desert islands do, the most i pull off is three pages every morning while drinking my espresso and subsequently making myself late for work.
this week i caught myself in one of the behaviors the author discusses. essentially, when a positive event happens we cling to it because the delicious energy loop it creates feels so good. the problem is this prevents energy from moving through and keeping it lodged is its own form of energy loss.
blocking the heart is blocking the heart, whether the energy used is positive- for clinging- or negative- for resisting.
my Achilles heel is clinging. i do so with enough static electricity to power a Xerox machine.
Jonathan Franzen knows what I’m talking about. i kept this quote, from his book of essays, “How to be Alone,” on my Facebook profile for years:
“Do I sound nostalgic? I am not. I don’t hunger to return to those days, because I clearly remember wishing to be nowhere in the world but standing next to Tom on the muffler- and tailpipe-strewn shoulder as, with fingers stiff from the Chicago winter, he wire the Ghia’s hood back into place. I knew I was happy then, and so I can look back on those years and not miss them. I was present when they happened, and that’s enough.”
as a nostalgia-plagued college student i added, BUT HOW IS THAT ENOUGH??
over memorial day weekend i went to iowa for a dear friend’s wedding. but this post is not directly about the wedding. i’ll leave that to the historians.
i’m here to tell you about the Disney-prince-look-alike best man, about whom i’d harbored R-rated personal intentions when I left for iowa. my thinking was if i have to go to iowa i might as well cross an item off the ol’ sexual bucket list. however, he unexpectedly turned out to be a potentially great friend.
we met the morning of the wedding, hit it off, and were immediately locked into the same wavelength. our conversation flowed easily, we discovered piles of common interests, and he shared his granola bars with me.
since we were on an adventure known as “someone else’s wedding day,” our principal duty was to stay chill and low-maintenance, so being friendly was the way to go.
it felt like being on an elementary school field trip with your best friend—new setting to explore, weird bugs to comment on, limited supervision—but without annoying worksheets to complete about museum exhibits.
another crucial difference: instead of the cozy familiarity of a yellow school bus, we were transported in one dedicated to parties, complete with a stripper pole and jazzy lights.
to be clear, we weren’t joined at the hip. we’d separate for photos and to chat with others but always found our way back together. it felt like our souls reached out and high-fived. as the evening wore on and became increasingly awesome, i realized i wanted to be friends with him more than anything.
and on cue, my heart began to soar. over the moon with glee, i told myself, “this is the real deal!”, “now we’ll be best friends!”, “maybe he’ll move to LA!” in other words, i was in full clinging mode. ideally someone would have wrapped me in a dryer sheet.
but i had to do my own wrapping. “live it up and let it go, JG,” i told myself. “maybe you’ll become friends, maybe you won’t. but it’s good right now, so enjoy.”
that night during bar-hopping, after i deemed the bars too loud, we sat out the remainder of the festivities on public benches, where we discussed Boston vs. LA real estate and people watched (i.e. judged strangers, “your butt looks gross in that dress”) with the ruthless abandon only East Coast natives can manage. a lot of food and beverage choice regrets were also aired.
the following day, as we awaited flights home after our final meal as out-of-town wedding guests, he listened patiently while i gushed about my acupressure mat and even added one in his Amazon cart.
when i returned to the office Tuesday morning and watched my Outlook fill with emails, i caught myself thinking, “i’d rather be on a party bus in iowa…” but successfully caught myself before the nostalgia took over.
will we become great friends? who knows? we will see. all I know for sure is i was present when it happened, and that is enough.