Lessons from the universe can come in unusual ways. Mine came in the form of a pair of gold earrings I bought recently on a trip away. They were a delicate tulip-shaped design, the petals facing downwards like the flower was about to close as it was looking towards the ground.
Holding snug within the flower was a tiny pearl. You would never know it was there unless you turned the earrings upside down and looked carefully inside. I liked that about them. They were beautiful to look at, and held a hidden, deeper beauty within.
I wore them for the second time yesterday and lost one of them on my journey throughout the day. Gone.
Of course I was sad to discover my new earring was no longer delicately adorning my earlobe. Shocked to see in the mirror, there was only one. With a sense of panic, I traced my steps. Physically and mentally. I shook my clothes, my hair. I looked all over the house. In the car. I drove back to work and looked in the car park, the path I had walked when I was heading to the car to go home for lunch.
I could feel the sadness building as I began to realise the earring was lost. I gently placed its lone partner in my purse.
A Buddhist lesson is attachment leads to suffering. And so it does. My attachment to this earring and the loss yesterday, led to a feeling of sadness. A sense of disappointment to have only worn them twice. I recognised my feelings, said farewell to the earring and then eventually thanked the universe for the lesson in impermanence. And with that, even though I only had them for a short time, the joy of the earrings intensified. I smiled, grateful for the memory of their story. Grateful for a lesson about attachment, suffering, loss and letting go.
As humans, we seek peace and want to be free of suffering. The universe hears us and provides numerous moments for us to exercise our muscle of detachment to help us achieve this. Yesterday, being one of mine.
If attachment leads to suffering, the reverse must be true: detachment leads to peace. This does not mean we walk around with a cold distance from each other, ourselves or the things around us. Completely the opposite, we need love and connection but it is connection without the need for ownership or control. It is connection with acceptance that things transform. To love and to let go. It is, as humanitarian, Christina Sarich wisely says, to "not hold your beloved in your pocket". It is the essence of impermanence.
We don't own anything in this world, not an earring and not each other. Things, people and experiences come into our lives and shape us in the moment, and then they transform into something else. An earring becomes a memory, a moment of joy and a lesson in letting go.