We don’t do dining rooms. I mean, that’s a lot of square footage that might only be used, what … three times a year? So, instead, we have a bar/lounge and we use it every day. In one corner is a cabinet that has things from traveling, events, and other small things. On one shelf is a fork inside a frame.
Why? A few months back, a friend asked me that same question. “I see you have this fork thing in the cabinet there, and I’m guessing it means something. What’s the story?”
Fresh out of college, back in the early 90’s, I got this job in a specialty fitness retail store. Some days, I was the only person on staff, so there was no leaving for lunch. We had a small microwave and I brought one of those frozen pasta alfredo meals. When it came to lunch time, I got it out and realized I didn’t have a fork.
A few quick curse words, a thought about skipping lunch altogether out of spite, another thought about putting a “back-in-fifteen-minutes” sign on the door to get something, and then realizing I was barely making enough money to pay rent, and even another thought about eating the entire mess with my fingers.
Then, I sat there quietly with an empty mind. Like Mushin; mind of no mind. I let my eyes wonder around the store with no goal. We all do this from time to time, right? It’s like we give ourselves up to the universe.
I looked down at a box of paper clips and without much thought, I dumped it out onto the counter and began twisting and joining them together. Eventually, I had this fork.
Now … I don’t have craftiness or artistry in me. When I was in elementary school and we had to build a house out of popsicle sticks, mine looked like an abandoned sasquatch shelter. I’ve done a few of those wine and paint things and while everyone else’s looks like a Rembrandt, my hot air balloon looked like a melted meteor. I go for the wine and friends.
But I made this fork. And it works. And yes, I actually did use it on my alfredo. One-time use.
Aparigraha. I didn’t know anything about yoga back then, except for what Raquel Welch was doing at the time. I remember trying to master Warrior III to her VHS tape. Hey; no judging. It was Raquel Welch, okay?
Yoga has eight limbs. The first limb is Yama, in which there are five. The fifth Yama is Aparigraha; non-attachment. I had no attachment to an outcome or a goal, when I dumped the box of paperclips.
As it is written in yogic texts, “Let your concern be with action alone, and never with the fruits of the action. Do not let the results of action be your motive, and do not be attached to inaction.”
Quick sidenote: Action is karma (literally translated). Karma is action, not a transaction.
Do for the immersive experience of doing without outside or self-imposed pressures of achievement. When we let go, our passion flows, creativity flows, we are one with the universe, and the outcome is a byproduct of our action and the spirit of our karma.
And … oh, shit; my friend is looking at me with that face, “I, uh … was just asking about the fork.”