Samsara

I have always believed in the mantra “give, and ye shall receive.” Giving to others frees me from holding on to things, beliefs, or practices I don’t need, that are no longer working for my benefit and those around me. But I also know that feelings and thoughts, and visions can manifest as things. So to honor that I‘ve learned to be conscious of my possessions, keeping things that give me joy, giving away things that no longer work for me. But what happens when a possession you thought you had disengaged from reappears in your life? What is that about? A coincidence? Some unfinished business? An unconscious convergence?

A few weeks ago, I got up early on a Saturday morning. I was determined to search for a perfect pie at my favorite local bakery to bring to a party before my weekly zoom calls started. I was cruising around a corner in my neighborhood when I passed by a house, and I couldn’t believe it. The very couch that had graced my living room for over 18 years and then sat in my garage for another 2 years, was standing out on the sidewalk, all alone, in front of a house for rent. Okay, I could explain. I’d put that couch out on the street 9 months ago, some college kids had taken it, and now they probably were moving on. I hesitated when I saw it so naked and lonely, but right at the moment, time was of the essence. I had to move on and let it go.

What I could not rationalize were all the memories that immediately flooded into my head as I drove down the main drag towards my destination. That really was a lovely old couch. I bought it on sale off the floor of a fancy store and it was perfect. So comfortable I fell asleep on it countless times. As did my kids and their friends who spent the night, and then my granddaughter. It had been there for me during so many parties and book clubs and meetings and Thanksgiving dinners. It held my puppies and books and baby toys and never once asked for anything in exchange except an occasional cleaning. But at some point it became less perfect and so sayonara. Was it heartless of me to let it go without fully acknowledging its support? Doubt started to permeate my brain. Maybe I should do something about it just sitting there, waiting for the next random householder to take possession. How would I know if it was the right person?

I drove on. I was about a block from the beloved bakery when I saw the line around the block. Was I dreaming? Was there an audition? A film shoot? Or had every other harried party giver in town wandered over to this very spot on this particular time, to pick up a delicious confection they hadn’t dared to dream of during months locked down. The line was indeed, for the bakery, which had just opened up. I circled once, twice. I couldn’t believe it. I gave up. I didn’t have the time to wait in that line.

So I passed the couch again on my way home. “I’m sorry,” I said to it. I prayed that it would find a good home. Again my mind was assaulted with memories. This time not of the upbeat kind. Sadder moments on that couch. A diagnosis was revealed. Hearing that a beloved parent passed away. Or learning that a marriage ended. All those events and things that happen as we move through this life. Joy and pain. Learning how to deal with them a challenge. How to smile when one’s dreams turn to ashes. How to deal with someone who has lost their way. Always supported by that lovely old couch.

It was later in the day. I had to go out and get other food items for the party. I passed that house one more time. The couch was gone. Someone knew value when they saw it I thought. I breathed a sigh of relief. It wouldn’t get soaked in a sprinkler or fade in the harsh summer sun. It had a new life, a better life. My head was clear. I had done my best.

It was the next day. I was walking the dog. I had put that couch completely out of my mind. Things to do, people to see, filled my head. I was a block from my house. Something caught my attention. I looked down on some rose bushes. A pillow that had come with that couch lay there, unmistakable in it brocade glory. My heart beating in my head, I leaned down and picked it up. It must have fallen off the couch when someone put it in the back of a van or a truck. As I touched it, more memories came rushing back. Now I remembered acts of healing and kindness and reconciliation that took place on that couch. Recoveries from illnesses and broken hearts.

So the couch is gone, but the pillow is back in my garage, nestled up against some furniture friends that it once lived with in my living room. I laugh now when I think about that weekend. Somehow that couch got on my radar that weekend and didn’t let up until it had me remember every little thing it needed me to know. Who knows, but this confirmed my long held suspicion, that there is something definitely metaphysical about Los Angeles.

Samsara