Lessons Learnt from a Pair of Earrings

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.   Alexander Graham Bell

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

Alexander Graham Bell

A few weeks ago I lost one half of a favourite pair of earrings. My husband and I were at his friend’s birthday celebrations in the New Forest and we spent the night at a hotel. The next morning I woke up to find only one of my earrings on the bedside table (despite being almost certain I’d arrived back from the party wearing both). Despite a thorough search of our room, the second one was nowhere to be found.

I felt sad. I loved those earrings. They were also a gift from a good friend who now lives on the other side of the world. A part of me was like, come get over it: after all, it’s only a pair of earrings; far worse things happen. But what all these years of yoga have taught me is that it’s much healthier to feel our feelings rather than stuff them down, so they can flow through us more quickly and be released. So I breathed into and made space for them.

Nothing in life lasts forever. We all know this, yet it’s one of the hardest things to accept. I certainly have to remind myself again and again. My yoga practice really helps, as I sense inhalation dissolving into exhalation, or one asana flowing into the next. And generally just being as present as I can to the world around me reminds me that life’s essence is this dance of one thing shifting into the next, just as we can see the bright green leaves which only recently graced the trees now scatter the pavements in their autumnal hues.

The more I plug into the innately transitory nature of life, the easier it makes it to accept its losses (while still letting myself feel whatever emotion arises from them). Of course the larger ones, such as a person, a job, a home are much tougher to deal with than a small one like an earring. But I believe we can practice by getting more adept at accepting the less dramatic ones, which in turn can help us when something bigger happens.

The second part of the equation of dealing with loss is asking myself (though not necessarily immediately, as sometimes we just need time to grieve) whether I can craft something good or beautiful from it. I’m not necessarily convinced that everything happens for a reason or for the best – that seems a little too simplistic. But I do believe things happen as they happen and we have a choice in how we respond. Do we use the situation as an opportunity for growth or for creating something new (we all probably know people who’ve lost their jobs and gone on to set up their own business and been far happier), or do we just dwell what we’ve lost, unable to move on?

With my earrings, one remained, so I decided to get a chain for it and transform it into a pendant. And then I remembered that for ages I’d been eyeing up another pair at the shop the original ones came from but had always felt it’d be a bit indulgent to get a second pair that were not a million miles away in appearance from the original ones. But now I had my excuse! I bought the new ones without even asking what stone they were made from – I just loved how they looked. When a friend saw me wearing them, she told me they were moonstone, apparently the stone associated with motherhood. Interesting. A tiny part of me still misses my old earrings, but mostly I’m delighting in the new ones and in my beautiful necklace.