My mother lived her entire life to build a house that her children would never live in. I learnt how not to live by observing my mother closely, she was hard working, always toiling, collecting, building, never did she imagine that everything she had built so hard for so long would be lost so easily, so inconsequentially. I remember going to my mother’s house a month after she has passed and tried to own a house that didn’t feel like mine, tried to own a life that she had dreamt for me. Everything with her essence gone was a shell, nothing remained. Home had been my mother, not the things she left behind.
My ex-boyfriend on our second date introduced me to Elizabeth Bishop’s poem; The Art of losing. I knew then although it pained me that he like everything concrete and tangible came ready made with the intention to be lost, I would lose him too.
The art of losing is not hard to master Elizabeth says, life is a practice at loss. Sometimes you will lose everything; family, friends, money, houses, some people have lost entire countries and continents even. Life never asks you, never waits for you to be ready before it decides to teach the truest lesson, nothing is permanent, we own nothing here. Even this body that I inhabit will one day be lost to me, it will rot and become undesirable, even my own body, the temple that houses my spirit came ready built with the intention to be lost.
I am a Mormon albeit a less active one, one thing the church teaches that I have found to be eternally true is the purpose of life. We are taught that we existed before we were born, that this life, this experience is what we chose for our evolution. We (humans) are basically alive for the sole purpose of collecting experiences. When the body dies and the soul moves on the only things we will take to the other life are our experiences, our thoughts, our memories, everything else remains here on earth where everything is temporary.
We have heard it before, invest in experiences and not in things. The art of losing only applies to tangible things, to things we hoard, to things we rent while having the illusion of owning. The experiences that we collect through the body; touch, smell, feeling, seeing, loving, being, such things can never be lost and those are the same things that make us feel alive because they are life. I refuse to live the life that my parents lived, of owning and loss and the constant mourning of the pain of loss that stems from our attachments to things that were made to be lost. They say that religion is for those who are afraid to go to hell, spirituality is for those who have already been there. Likewise the life of hoarding and accumulation are for those who have a fear of loss, those still laboring under the lie that material gain equates to security. You cannot purchase insurance against life, it will happen when it decides to.
Life is experience, we are only alive when we are actively experiencing, feeling, touching, connecting and perceiving otherwise we have not introduced ourselves to our own lives.
As I share my Mokolodi experience with Thuto the cheetah and my sister with you and ask, what experiences are you investing in?
Uhuru, Love and Light,