As a young adult, I wore a boxy Liz claiborne purse, gray or light tan with a thin leather cross-over strap, filled with pencils, erasers, flavored lipgloss and a few lucky rocks. I had collected a gray skipping tone, the size of a big grape, and a smooth hematite. I was shy and when I felt challenged, my fingers would turn over the stones in my bag, infusing me with providence and power.I was an animist; my stones had souls. I cannot quite remember when I grew out of them but it was not an obvious transition. In high school, I shoplifted crystals from nature stores at the mall. In college, I collected frogs.
Finally I abandoned the needs of childhood to ground myself with physical objects and instead retreated to the colorful recesses of my mind, where fantasies trumped the day. For years now, I have hedged on reality. Even when two beautiful children have presented me with magic beyond human imagination, I have maintained my own dream life, a foot-out-the-door of this world, a vague morass of happiness and drama where no decisions need ever be made, just possibilities, endless possibilities.
I have my own versions of lucky rocks, ideas that help me get through it all: moving to Los Angeles or even better, Bali, irrational crushes, careers I could never pursue, hobbies that remain out of reach and things I have no intention of acquiring. At my wedding, I felt terrorized by my own uncertainty not so much because I lacked in love but more because I lacked the ability to live within the compass of regularity. Happiness was something for people that understood what this game of life was about, I reasoned.
Yet as I pursue mindfulness,I must let go of the notion that something outside of myself, be it a rock or a distant dream, fulfills me. And for a dreamer like me, this is bittersweet.