Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Three Wishes

Two of my kitchen drawers are completely empty; I purge the closets every season. We've only got one dog right now. And also I'm a hoarder.

Peek at the picture: (unless you're with PETA). It's my wishbone collection, started back before the equally gruesome days of Alex's new vegan diet. I keep it on the windowsill over the sink so that, while I'm doing dishes, I can see how many wishes I've got coming to me, how many good things I have left.

My wishes aren't the only things saved and coddled in the safe harbor of my kitchen. I have two generous spa certificates in my possession, gifts I received from the person who knows how much I hate spending money on anything "luxe," as the kids say. I plan to spend one on my annual summer pedicure, an event so auspicious that it's like celebrating the new year. I once explained to a friend that the timing of the expenditure is carefully planned. Deliberate. "When the outside half my big toe is red, and the inside half is plain old natural nail, I know it's January."

"Let me get this straight," she said. "You use your toenails as a calendar?"
"It's not a bug, it's a feature," I told her.

The other spa certificate isn't so easily spent. Chances are good that I will agonize over its redemption, and when Alex encouarges me to cash it in for a massage or a facial, I will likely look at him like he's suggested I sell one of my kidneys on the black market. "Use it?" I'll ask with my arms crossed. "If I use it, I won't have it anymore."

I commit this same kind of flawed logic to other things too, specifically shampoos and bath products, including the fancy little soaps and lotions I've taken from fancy resorts. "What? They're travel-sized," I say, stuffing them into the Ziplock bag that's bulging with last year's stash. I now have sufficient materials to coat the Burning Man playa with enough lotion to create the world's biggest slip 'n slide. (I can't wait for the email that tells me it's already been done.)

But when I consider that the Dead Sea is dead primarily because there's no outlet for the incoming water other than evaporation, I look down at my toes and wonder if I'm doing myself any favors. When I consider that Ernest Holmes was onto something with his writings on the Law of Circulation, I think I feel a resolution of sorts coming on, not that I'm into resolutions or anything.

Maybe I can just say, "No more hoarding," in 2009, or any other year. I will use my things up, knowing that it's an act of gratitude, maybe even a kind of prayer, when doing so. I will faithfully use myself up, too, knowing that being too careful, too tight-fisted with one's self is the battle cry of the fearful. Whether the law of conservation of matter holds up in a laboratory or not, I will work my own experiment and let go of all my wishes, knowing that the only shortage--and the only source--of real wishes exists only in my imagination. Not on my windowsill.

I will resist the urge to engage in any more emotional constipation and let the cosmic equivalent to gravity do its work. I will exercise my gratitude and my own potential by letting loose the hounds. For my own good, I will sacrifice in order to receive. Personal growth hurts; it's going to be difficult, but I'm up to it.

I'll be at the spa.