Essence of a Thing

detail ceramic sculpture

In my first couple years living in Santa Fe I belonged to what I now call a cult.

Back then it just felt like a group of dedicated and inquisitive people learning about what ESSENCE is.

Our discussions were lofty and lively.

Being a favored student took care of a lot of the insecurities I felt at first in my new home town.

But I was dedicated to the study.

Still am, in fact (but from my own living room).

Here is an example of the kind of inquiry we did:

One Christmas, we had all been asked to bring an ornament for the tree.

Each of us arrived and carefully found the right spot on the small pine for our offering and hung it there.

We sat in a circle around the tree and just enjoyed it for awhile.

Then our teacher asked us if there were any ornaments that seemed like they did not belong on the tree; didn’t feel quite right for some reason; something ‘off’ about it.

Slowly, it came clear that a plastic reindeer seemed too kitschy for the occasion.

Off he came.

Then there was a garish and glittery star..


We went on like this for a couple hours as we sat in silence and felt into each object and it’s relation to the tree, the event, the time of year.

He was asking us to open our field of experience beyond the little tree and the habitual dressing of it with haphazard gleam and glitter.

When we were done there was ONE ornament left on the tree.

A beautiful blown glass ball in a shade of blue with no name and a mysterious surface; not too shiny, not too dull.

It stood alone alone but not lonely.

There was nothing about it that was ‘in your face’.

It was not trying too hard to shine brightly.

And yet, it had enough presence to carry the whole tree.

This seemingly small investigation taught me so much about the essence of a thing/person.

When I married the man I did (now divorced) I never got past the gleam.

In a cultural sense he looked good on all fronts and wooed me well.

He said all the right things and I let myself be enchanted by the story instead of the substance.

Knowing what I know now about essence, I decide everything differently.

Is the energy complete as it is or am I tempted to get in there and complete it so it feels like a better match for me?

I look for the energy of a figure-eight; two people/ things which have their own solid and complete circle going on.

The sparky-ness happens at the meeting place.

I use this formula whether buying a handbag or choosing a friend.

The fact that intermittent fatigue is a life companion has allowed the crash course in the discriminating department.

I don’t have the energy to tolerate ‘almost-but-not-quite’.

I am going after the color of blue with no name and the mysterious sheen I saw on a Christmas tree long ago.


One Response to “Essence of a Thing”

  1. Judy on August 18th, 2010

    Wonderful post.

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