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Environment is more important than will
-- Paramanhansa Yogananda

I have a desk. It's a great desk with all kinds of exotic carvings. There are peacocks and boats, pagodas and more peacocks. It's beautiful. Totally impractical, but beautiful. I read and journal there, and I keep some things in the little drawers inside. It's my favorite environment.

To be honest, I am a little overly attached to the desk. I actually love it. I keep it properly dusted and polished, and I love the polishing because that's when I get to trace all it's intricacies and "waste" time wondering what it all means, who carved it and why. It's sort of mysterious, this desk of mine. My environment. It's an outward and visible sign of things I'll never know. My environment allows for mystery. It's a place where it's OK not to know, just to be.

The desk is made of some unknown dark wood. My bookcase is also of some unknown dark wood, old and of some historical note I've been told. So, last week when I went off shopping for another bookcase I thought I'd get something dark. I watch HGTV, after all, and I know how to do design. You know, from Tee Vee.

Before my shopping really got under way I stopped at a friend's furniture store in a near by town. The furniture they stock is way out of my price range, really beautiful stuff. I wasn't even there to shop. In retrospect I can't remember why I was there. But, I digress... So, I was taking with my friend and she said, "Well, I've got a bookcase..." and she walked me back to this gorgeous honey colored bookcase. It was solid and wide. Except for the color, it was just what I was looking for.

My friend claimed the bookcase had some water damage. It had been marked down and didn't sell, they didn't need it, long story short, I could have it. I thought I'd probably have to put a stain on it so that it would fit in with the other furniture. But, no big deal. Small price to pay, just a little elbow grease, for a great bookcase.

As if my life is not rich and blessed enough, eh? Now I'm getting free bookcases.

You might reasonably think that the new honey colored bookcase wouldn't fit in with my old dark furniture. And it doesn't. But, I am not going to change the new bookcase. Want to know why? It's because the new bookcase changed my dark furniture. In the desk, and the other bookcase, there were hues of gold and red that I'd never seen before. Even my wood floor has red streaks! I kid you not, I was so stunned at the transformation that I sat down and just stared at the other furniture. The loved desk seemed unknown and more mysterious. And the old lawyers bookcase -- I am not exaggerating -- had streaks of fire in it.


Environment is more important than will. That's probably one of the reasons Sri Yogananda started spiritual communities for his devotees. It's why Jesus kept the disciples together, it's the rationale behind cloistered life. It's why sports teams travel together, and armies go off by themselves before battle. Environment.

What is near us changes us, brings out the true colors and makes us better (or at least different) than we are by ourselves. But, it's not the sameness that brings out our hidden beauty. It's the different one, the other, the single odd piece.

I am in an odd place, surrounded by odd people. Discouraging as I find that, I have hope that maybe some streaks of fire, a hidden hue, might emerge. You never know.

"...just as the natural environment depends on biodiversity, so the human environment depends on cultural diversity, because no one creed has a monopoly on spiritual truth; no one civilization encompasses all the spiritual, ethical and artistic expressions of mankind.”

-- Sir Jonathan Sachs
(nicked from Elizabeth Kaeton)


sharecropper said...

What fun in discovery! And, that's not wasting time. Thanks for the insights - and I'll be looking for all the streaks of fire and hidden highlights that I might have missed in my life.

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Great story, Lindy! I'm with Sharecropper---lots of theological reflection to work with there.

But I also have to ask---don't all those TeeVee shows tell you not to do the matchy-matchy thing? That's what my Friends With Excellent Taste are always telling me....


Lindy said...

Well, Doxy... Hummm...
Mainly, I finds what I likes and I puts it in the room. Once in a while I will do something for the sake of style. More often, though, I just do whatever I want. I am sure Martha Stewart would be horrified but it works for me.

Jan said...

What a wonderful discovery! And I loved the description of your desk.

Diane said...

I too loved the description! but how did I miss this! take care....

Grandmère Mimi said...

Lindy, as Doxy says, the new chic in decorating is "not matching". As long as the new piece looks good with the other furniture, that's what counts. Apparently, you love the mixture, so you're set.

I'm waiting for the streaks of fire in my community, too.

Lindy said...

Well, we know I want to be chic!

Grandmère Mimi said...

Prayers that you stay safe from Ike, my friend.