Monday, 2 April 2012

Duties, dreams, clothes libraries. Early morning thoughts.

Yesterday had a large social occasion in it.  I didn’t want to go but it seemed imperative.  Discourteous and ungracious to stay at home.  Hurtful, maybe, to friends.  But in my soul I am travelling further and further away from parties.  

Living simply is not just a matter of how many things one owns or how cluttered the diary is, or how earth-friendly are one's choices.  It make changes closer to the root, it seems.  Or washes away the clinging earth and exposes the root already there.

Like a fish lying on the bank or a mermaid as she walks up the beach.  At parties, I mean.

When I came home I had the same sensations as when I am in shock.  I slept all the remainder of the afternoon.  I woke up with a furious desire to throw away as many things as possible, but I couldn’t find many left to throw.  I had some salad, and some vegetables that Alice was cooking.  Then I went back to bed and slept all night.  My last dream was of finding a very small furry wild animal unable to get away from a cat because it was impeded by a label, the fine string of which had got tangled around its foot. I caught it easily, reassuring it, and carefully unwound the label, then I let it go free and it scampered away.  I didn’t bother to read the label.  This morning I woke up feeling restored.

Last night I looked at a few pages of a favourite book.  

I had thought I would read the whole thing (it’s short and mainly a picture book) then watch the Indian Hill Railways DVD that I love for the homes and lifestyle of the Indian porters that I glimpse, and the patience of India.  But I was falling asleep after only a few pages.  I marked one that spoke to me especially:
There are only three treasures: Mercy, Economy and Humility.  From Mercy comes tolerance, from Economy springs charity. From Humility comes leadership.
This is credited in the book as a saying from China in the 6th century BC.  It must surely be from the Tao, for this is Lao Tsu’s thinking, and it was written around then, but from a translation I do not know.

On another matter, why don’t we have clothes libraries?  In my shoe drawer I have 2 pairs (1 black one brown) of boots with low heels, that fit me well and are comfortable.  In my wardrobe I have a red linen skirt, a grape-coloured linen skirt and a black and white fine cotton lined summer skirt.  I have a dark navy jacket.  I have a black linen skirt suit.  Common sense cautions me to keep these items as they fit well, were moderately expensive, are beautiful, modest and plain, and look quite smart.  But they annoy me intensely by existing.  It feels like having something stuck to me that I can’t get off.  If we had clothes libraries, when I needed something like this I could borrow it and take it back.  For me clothes shopping is like a fabulously expensive clothes library with a rapidly changing stock.

But buying things, once a cheerfulness habit, remains a habit but begins to feel increasingly like the time when as a child in the school playground, sucking a Murray mint (large boiled sweet) that Rona had given me from the stash of candy which which her mother sent her to school each day, I inadvertently swallowed it whole.

I do still buy things, waste money.  But it no longer feels good.  If I drink tea or eat fatty food or bread, I get raging heartburn, my gullet bathed in acid, exquisitely painful.  My body that once asked for vegetables, salad, plain food, now DEMANDS it.  Something similar is happening with my soul and purchases.

I have bought a pitcher and bowl for a bedroom washing station.  It was not an impulse.  It is plain and beautiful.  I feel uneasy about the money spent, about industrial process and manufacture.  And, my soul feels tired of engagement, of entanglement.  Like a small furry wild animal that needs to get away.  Maybe I will keep this pitcher and bowl.  Maybe it can be like Sara Crewe's Last Doll.  Remember?


365 366 Day 93 – Monday April 2nd
  (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, see here) 

What we here call a ‘loo book’ – cheerful reading needed for intermittent brief occasions, if you see what I mean.  Fun, and we had it quite a while.  Time for different reading material.

365 366 Day 92 – Sunday April 1st  

Another one.


Julie B. said...

Queen Serene. Those are the words that popped into my mind when I saw your photo. Truly beautiful...

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Oh honey! The eye of the beholder . . .

Ganeida said...

Pen, you are beautiful. Your soul shines in those morning eyes! ☺

I had to buy, to my dismay, concert blacks but I haven;y owned a pair of proper shoes in about 30 years; I have odd feet & shopping for shoes is the sort of drama I don't need. Liddy's not here so I *borrowed* her black work shoes & I *borrowed* the bolero. Having daughters more or less the same size soothes my soul. I always check what's in the house before I go buy.

Penny said...

I haven't anything beautiful to write, but I wanted to comment rather than lurk and say I appreciate.

maria said...

Pen, as you begin to truly let go, you begin the attentiveness of living without. Sadly, the month of March was a very large spending month for me. Children, hubby, myself, seemed to need things that broke down or were necessary for other things in life.

I do not feel guilty with the purchases, since it enlightened me to the waste of other items in my life that are cluttering my energy.

God is so good, isn't He Pen? that He shows Himself in every aspect of our lives and uses everything to put us back in the right track.

Your journey of eating more veggies, of your body demanding it, it is become you are more in tuned with it. You are listening more. As a Yogi, I am becoming more and more aware of my life through the eyes of My Savior. It is good.

By the way...not a bad idea about the clothing library :-) but maybe what you need to do is to put them away from your sight for awhile. It could be the colors and the way they were made, what is truly causing you so much discomfort to your soul.

Peace be with you today my friend,

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hi friends!

Ganeida - "shopping for shoes is the sort of drama I don't need" - this friend speaks my mind!!

Hey Penny - waving from England, blowing you a kiss!

Maria - "maybe what you need to do is to put them away from your sight for awhile" - good suggestion! I will make a 2-year quarantine box!

Linda said...

I'm hearing you about this "My body that once asked for vegetables, salad, plain food, now DEMANDS it. Something similar is happening with my soul and purchases."

About this: "When I came home I had the same sensations as when I am in shock. I slept all the remainder of the afternoon." I have been sleeping too. A party to me is facebook. Yes, I have said it before in comments. I want to go back to reading Little House books, like The Long Winter. I am pushing myself. I keep thinking it is helping. Then I listen to a sermon on the tv, caught the end about being out of the world, have to go back and see if it means this is a good thing.

Linda said...

My Mum sometimes op-shops with me and buys things for me to take home. I got a suit, it needs repair but it is a lovely cut last week. I'm not sure my point. I just don't know if long top is OK. I am so funny, I have to know how dated it is, and how would I know lol.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hi Linda! Good to hear from you x

Elin said...

I like the idea of a clothing library, I have investigated similar ideas which mean that you give up a certain amount of clothes and you can then choose the same amount from other people's clothes. Sadly, the people who arrange these kinds of days have very different taste in clothes from me. Mostly they wear jeans and hoodies and big t-shirts, none of which work for me, I would be misrable wearing that. If you could run it on a grander scale than that and have a bigger range I would be much more interested.

Overall I love your post and how life and god has transformed you. On a much smaller scale, because I am not as plain, I can relate to what you write. I have given up things, but with a happy heart and having to go back saddens me but it is sometimes necessary for different reasons.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Hi Elin! Sorry to read on your blog that you have a cold - hope you have a good night's rest and feel better tomorrow x

Heather said...

Hello Ember! I've always felt like that about parties! Is disliking them a new thing for you? They really, really drain me-I'm glad to hear your long sleep restored your soul!

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Not a new thing. I remember when I was a child, my mother saying firmly, "You'll enjoy it when you get there!" The difference seems to be a step up from "difficult" to "intolerable"!

BLD in MT said...

A clothes library. You, my dear, are brilliant.

It must be a good thing that when you wanted to throw things away you found little to discard. You must be making progress in leaps and bounds.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) Inching forward, anyway. Nice to see you, friend x

Asta Lander said...

Well Pen when I was a high school chaplain I had a ball gown library!:) Asta x

Pen Wilcock said...

Asta, that is such a brilliant idea!