The old me, or perhaps the previous me since I’m now the old me and the former me is the young me, was not one for mantras. I have a different take on them now. They’re short, simple lessons that you have to re-teach yourself over and over again. I think of them as New Year’s resolutions, but rather than making a promise to do something, I’m making a promise to myself to know something and allow the actions to flow naturally from that knowledge. Here are the ones I’ve written down on a piece of paper and keep with me wherever I go:

  • Practice Letting Go. I think this is the central lesson the Universe is trying to teach us. We naturally want to hold onto people, memories, and items in our life, but while we can hold them and travel with them, we cannot keep them. There is no permanence. There is no constant but constant change. They will be taken from us by theft, misplacement, death, and decay or we will be forced, somehow, to leave them. If it weren’t for Wendy, I would still be living in LA and maybe working at the same job–not because that’s what I wanted, but because I would have been too afraid to let go of what I had.
  • Every Item You Let Go Adds Value to Each Item You Keep. This is a practical lesson that helps me face the surplus of things I have in my life. The idea is simple: Everyone has a constant sentimental value inside them for things. If you had, say, a thousand “things” to begin with and you pared that collection down to ten, you’d be left with the ten most important things in your life. You would cherish any one of the ten than any one of the thousand. Plus, you’d spend a lot less time dusting.
  • Look for Wendy in the World. When you feel the acute pain of someone’s absence from your life, it’s very important to remember that you carry them with you in a way that was not possible when they were alive. It’s often difficult to access the Wendyness, though, so I have to seek it out in nature and in other people. To quote Bob Dylan:

    I’ll look for you in old Honolulu,
    San Francisco, Ashtabula,
    Yer gonna have to leave me now, I know.
    But I’ll see you in the sky above,
    In the tall grass, in the ones I love,
    Yer gonna make me lonesome when you go.

1 reply on “Mantras”

Oh, and this one Just Keep Swimming: This is from the animated feature film Finding Nemo. Wendy loved to repeat it in a sing-song way. To me it means that you can easily overthink things and knock yourself off track. The best way to get anything done is to chart a course and “just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

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