Here's a New Game to Play


Once upon a time when I lived with my first wife and our darling baby daughters we played a game.

As a boy I collected things. Small things. I even had a special black box, and sometimes cigar boxes, to store my treasures. Every fall I would collect horse chestnuts from a neighbor's front yard tree, and polish them up and keep them like jewels in a box.

This penchant for saving small mementos continues to this day, and I see no reason to stop. I don't believe in being maudlin about the past, but some things are good reminders of love shared.

Once a long time ago my daughters made a special bag for me and I still keep who knows what in it.

There's a WWII US Marine lapel pin, buttons from my dad's favorite cardigan, a coaster made by my younger daughter, Kristie. A boar's tooth my older daughter Kate brought back from a Mexico high school class trip. There are some other photos, Polaroids from my certification class with the Rolf Institute.

Just a minute, I have to go fetch it to list some of the other stuff . . .

OK. I see a fine well worn lizard wallet I bought with my last dollars from Dunhill's, when the store was on Fifth Avenue. I was "between careers". A nice set of brass blazer buttons. Some colored strings. A wood bead rosary. USA flag lapel pin. Rolf Institute logo pins showing images of a child before and after Rolfing®. A small bag of hand carved colorful stone nature spirit animals. A Saint Christopher medal. A medal with a heraldic red eagle on it. Feather ornaments from my dad's fedora. My mother's trusty thimble. Dad's UAW lapel pin and his Dodge Main worker badge. My own lapel pin marking my graduation from the Immaculate Conception school in 1957 in Poletown Detroit. A Christmas tree ornament my daughters made for me.

The smooth glass Coca-Cola bottle shards they collected for me on a trip to Coney Island beach in the winter. I gave up those tiny mementos at darshan during my first and only face to face meeting with Swami Mutktananda. My heart prayer then was that God look after and protect my darling girls. Baba at first didn't acknowledge me, but I shook the offering for so long and hard that finally he did, with eyes and mouth wide open. (I'm still contemplating the significance of his response.) But, I am confident my prayer was heard and well received.

Here are some images of what I've been writing about:


Anyhow . . .

Now, about the game.

As I said, once we played a game. I had all these little things saved, and I took them out and spread them on top of the bed. The four of us sat around and the items were arbitrarily divvied up, into four equal groups.

1. In the first go around we would show things from our respective groupings which each of us would be willing to readily give away; let's call them take-your-pick piles.

Then there were the I-want-to-keep-these piles, things we definitely would like to hold on to.

In turn each of us took what we wanted from the first set.

2. Second round, we would remake the take-your-pick piles and the I-want-to-keep-these piles. We each took what we wanted from the take-your-pick piles, until everyone had pretty much enough from those "easy" piles.

3. Then, third round, we each got to take something from the set of things each of us didn't want to give away so freely, the I-want-to-keep-these piles. And again, and again. In turn. Until there were just things left which no one wanted from anyone else's pile and we kept the things we wouldn't want to give away. Respecting each other's boundaries, if you will.

4. Fourth round, we each gave to the others, first things from our take-your-pick pile; and then, for our I-want-to-keep-these pile.

Give and take. Sharing.

The game was so interesting watching what each of us chose, what each offered. What was valued, and inferring the possible significance those things might have for each of us.

5. We didn't progress into sharing about any inner meanings at that time; but, now that I'm thinking about it, sharing like that about each thing might be a good thing to do.

6. Maybe make a complete game of it also by not only having each person select things for themselves to talk about, but also asking each other to talk about something we chose for them, or other things in their piles.

PS Mom made a noticeable beeline for an old blackened door key from my I-want-to-keep-these pile. It seemed at the time she might be expecting access to some universal secret or mystery.

I'm wondering now if it worked for her. If she got what she wanted. If she found it.

We haven't shared in a while.

I'm content. The heart of things is at peace.

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