There's so much gold in what you already know.
“And as for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke
Soon I'll be boarding a plane to Tokyo. I decided to let this post take a few days to arrive in your inbox, so in reality, I'm already there.
It's deliciously retro to write snail-mail style. I don't think I've ever really stopped to appreciate how mysterious it is to communicate in that kind of time-space continuum. I get to share what's true in this very moment, knowing full well that both you and I will be in an unknown future by the time these words are connecting us.
I'm dusting off an almost forgotten skill, relying 100% on body memory to carry me through.
Last night as I was putting my daughter to bed, my son decided to barge in and interrupt us with random questions—more than once. We kind of ignored him until the third time, when he asked, "Is this real?" pointing to a tiny vial full of glinting gold. One thing led to another, and soon he was back in his sister's room again, this time gleefully clutching a long-lost wallet.
There was no real gold or currency of any kind inside it. But it did contain some treasures. They were three small pieces of paper, receipts from when the kids and I visited Tokyo in the fall of 2017.
Each one, no bigger than a matchbox, was a miniature chronicle. I read each line on one receipt out loud. It showed we were at the 7-Eleven a few blocks from my parent's house at 11:25 a.m.on November 21, and that my son had spent his last bit of yen on Lemon Coke and chocolate-dipped potato chips.
Seeing that slip of paper triggered a flooded of sensations. The bright sunlight streaming into the store that morning and the warmth I felt on my cheeks. The smell of the oden cooking in a large stainless steel pot and the humidity of the steam rising from behind the cashier as she rung up these items.
That memory was as real and precious to me as the flecks of gold locked inside that tiny vial. And the memory had been equally locked up until it was suddenly released.
There are so many things that are etched into our bones. Skills. Stories. Intimate knowledge of people and places. We all know so, so many wonderful things without realizing that we do. And yet, we tell ourselves that we're not enough, don't have enough, or "aren't there yet."
I am so fortunate to have this upcoming trip to pause that thought, to have an opportunity to simultaneously return to where I came from and move forward into a beautiful unknown. I'm joyously anticipating more awakening to what I already know.
Even if you're not going anywhere soon, please do keep your eyes open for your own version of a long lost wallet, an invitation to revisit an almost forgotten place. I hope you take the time to revel in finding in the "real gold" that's inside of you and make the old, new.
Before you take another step forward, remember this. You've already come such a long way.
PS. If you're as nostalgic for well-written letters as I am right now, join me in reading Letters to a Young Poet. It's in my carry on.