Friday, May 20, 2011

Detach from the need to possess…

Handwritten in print letters and inserted under the plastic cover of one of the daily devotional books I try to rigorously go through each day is a summary of an article long-forgotten as for me to be completely clueless about its source or origins. But here it is anyway, copied word for word:

1. Detach from wounds and anger. Forgive all.
2. Detach from – Need to possess. Achieve, Or be the center of attraction
3. Say Goodbye to earth/loved ones.
4. Let go of sophistication. Be simple.
5. Immerse in language of silence.

Why this? Please allow me to backtrack.

Yesterday, I posted on my FB wall a couple of pictures of the new house we are constructing. My kids have seen them, so with some of my FB friends and relatives. Several comments were to my mind very insightful. Wendy mentioned project, while Joyce and Letti mentioned undertaking, all in the context of the new house. These were both revealing and insightful and let me tell you why.

The idea of building a new house was not new; it germinated over 2 years ago. It was triggered initially by the condition of the old one-storey house we are staying in RER, built in 1975 and now hemmed in on 3 sides by similar structures. The heat and humidity inside the house has made living almost intolerable without the constant use of electric fans and air-conditioning, aggravated by our losing battle with pesky termites, waged over many, many years.

That aside, the important concern lies in this. When we mentioned to friends and relations our desire to construct a new house, more than one responded this way: Why a new house at this stage in your life?

Believe me I was not offended. Friends and relations do not wake up in the morning promising to insult or offend friends and relations at the first opportunity. Rather it opened a critical facet that should have been factored in our decision-making but was not explored, touched, or even realized.

Yes, why indeed should we have to go through the whole tedious process – of buying a lot, paying rounds of confusing taxes and fees, engaging professionals to plan on a house that had to be both functional and secure, and of course, affordable, plus a myriad of other stuff that boggles the mind and pocketbook?

We all undoubtedly reach a certain stage in our lives where we begin to feel comfortable with what we have acquired and use. The alluring familiarity of it all is such a strong aphrodisiac making change quite a formidable task. And for me, doubly so. I develop very strong attachments to petty inconsequential things most people would dispose of without much thought. I guard or stow solicitously my hoards of old furniture, old books/pocketbooks/magazines, written documents, pictures, clothes, etc.

But this never came up in all our planning for the new house. How we were going to deal with all this. It did not even cross my mind albeit daily I had to leaf through my daily readings and would have to be blind to miss the 5 points enumerated above. Specifically and ominously in a big booming voice the second of such strictures - detach from the need to possess.

But the die was cast and inevitability had taken over. So indeed, this has become a project which has taken on the nature of an undertaking.

All considered, it is all for the good. As Wendy said – for wife and family. And imagine since it is constructed of concrete and metal, in a hundred years hence, they hopefully should be referring to it as the ancestral home of some Neri family.

That feels good.