I lost my mother’s engagement ring. Which, as I’ve written about here, became my engagement ring last fall.
To kill the suspense: it’s been found.
It was only hiding for 24 hours.
Which ironically turned out to be Mother’s Day.
I attended my penultimate polarity therapy training this weekend, which dealt with the element of earth. All gems and minerals can be thought as coming from earth, although many are connected to the other elements and chakras. Diamonds (element of fire), are the hardest mineral and considered to be a master crystal, helping to activate the crown chakra, which deals with our connection to what you might call Source, or that bigger and broader perspective.
I did not pine away during the decades between my mother’s death and my engagement, waiting for a chance to legitimately wear that ring. I’m not a diamond girl. My ring style leans to clunky, much like my taste in shoes. Besides, I’m a nail biter. Dainty rings are for manicured fingers.
Still, I thought I needed some visual reminder of being in a “real” relationship (even if my dude exists mainly in the matrix, coming to me on small screens and occasional dreams). In October, I took the diamond out of the drawer where it had been living (except for that time I tried to hock it), got it resized to fit my left ring finger, and haven’t left the house without it on in six months.
It does amaze me that I have something of my mother’s almost 28 years after her death. She picked the ring out herself, and might have also bought it herself. (I don’t remember any of the details, but I do recall that the friend who set up my parents on a blind date, a sort of last-ditch effort to stop my mother from moving to Israel, worked in New York’s Diamond District.) I sometimes wonder what kind of life she hoped to have, if having a diamond ring somehow made her feel like a regular person, not one with a personal history that included cultural genocide and exile and surviving something that shadowed her even under full sun.
Sometimes, I catch myself checking out my hand. I don’t know what it is about the clear stone set in white gold that draws me in, but I can understand why the diamond sutra would be about developing clarity of mind. (Ironically, this past week, I was troubled to read about a death in Arizona at a center affiliated with a teacher I admire. I first learned of his work about ten years ago; he had written about his own experiences applying the diamond sutra to the diamond business.)
I guess I fell in love with my recycled diamond the same way I fall in love with everything. There’s no falling involved, more of a commitment to being with and noticing what happens and how I feel.
It is pretty sweet, isn’t it???? Even Buddha thinks so.
So, on Sunday, heading to class, I’m on the bus and I realize that for the first time since I got engaged, I’m not wearing my ring. All day I joked that maybe I didn’t want to get married after all. (A friend used to say there’s only two reasons to get married: IRS and INS. And while I think there’s something amazing about spiritual partnership, why does the government need to be involved?) Still, I’m a lot of bark. I went home and searched everywhere, blamed the cat for playing soccer with it, crouched low and swept my hand under stoves and litter boxes and large chests. Because of dinner plans with a dear friend, I stopped short of tearing the apartment completely apart.
I couldn’t quite understand what was bothering me. Not the thing. It never is the thing.
The essence of my relationship to my long-dead mother and my super-long-distance sweetie is the same with or without the symbol embodied by the ring.
Maybe it’s that the ring is a concrete reminder of the importance of relationships, the ones you can’t always see and feel. It’s why I need a spiritual and creative community of practice, in addition to my own. Otherwise, I start feeling that familiar all-alone. I can easily convince myself that the people I love are too far away, or engaged in their own lives and struggles, or dead.
The practice of coming back to myself everyday reminds me over and over not to believe that.
Wearing something every day does that. It helps me remember that I am connected to some very special Source of love, from Above and Over There and Long Ago — and as long as I can embody that love in a feeling space inside, it always exists in the Here and the Now.
I woke up this morning and found the ring laying in plain sight, meditated for less than ten minutes and knew I had to turn on the computer. We received notice that our fiance visa was approved.
While we’re still waiting on official notice in terms of next steps, I suspect my mom might have borrowed her ring on the day meant to honor our first love to work some magic on bureaucrats. (Yes, we can have complicated relationships with our mothers — can’t we? — and yet find the space for breathing new life into our lives.)
In other news, I head out to Taos on May 26th to join Eunice Scarfe and a group of women writers in an intensive writing retreat (I’ll be leading gentle yoga and writing classes each day). I’ve just signed up to teach yoga and writing (around the themes of Community, Civility and Compassion) at the Loudon County Public Library this September, October and November. If you are interesting in learning Reiki, groups are forming, just send me an email. I’ll try to keep the Schedule & Upcoming Events up-to-date, so feel free to check back here, or be in touch.
With relief and blessings,