Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Everything is temporary

The greedy frozen river.
I believe I read in one of Deepak Chopra's* books, the suggestion that part of a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally, is to walk daily and preferably include a walk along a body of water as part of that routine. Out of an odd irrational fear I am learning the value and wisdom of that advice.

Along with my new job comes a new routine. Since my husband, Jim, also works at the university, we have decided to go to work together each day and park in his primo spot not far from the student union which houses his office. From there I walk the rest of the way to my office which means crossing the river. Since January that has meant at least two river crossings each day and different river activity. In January when the river was completely frozen over I developed the aforementioned irrational fear. As soon as I am on the bridge, making my crossing, I begin to feel a strong awareness of my valuables -- my new Droid (3PO) phone, my Birkenstock shoes that I bought in Germany, my husband -- and a mysterious supernatural pull that exists only in my mind, but that nonetheless warns me that these cherished parts of my life are in danger of being pulled from my possession and into the depths of the river, never to be seen again.

Of course I'm fully aware of the impossibility of this because my phone is not usually in my hands, and even if it was, I am not likely to hurl it into the river (or onto the ice, as the case may be). My shoes have never fallen off my feet as I walk. My husband, when he is with me, retains all his faculties and is usually holding my hand. In addition, there is a railing. In snow and ice the city or the university -- whichever has jurisdiction -- does an excellent job of maintaining the walk-ability of the sidewalk on the bridge. I know it doesn't make sense. Knowing that doesn't stop the sensation of things slipping away.

So instead of allowing my irrationality to grow into something obsessive, I examined it and learned that what the river is telling me (or what I needed to learn from the sensation the river crossings were creating in me) is that everything is temporary. The shiny new phone will one day be obsolete (actually it already is); the shoes will wear out. My husband and I are both human. One day we will die. But not to worry, they are with you now. Enjoy your possessions. Treasure your valuables. Ensure that you value those things that are temporary, particularly the love of my spouse, his hand in mine, his presence at my side. The river taught me that.

I still keep one hand in my pocket over the phone, just to play it safe.

*(And by the way, wouldn't it be awesome if Deepak Chopra married Oprah Winfrey -- and she could be Oprah Chopra? Or is it just me who thinks that?)