lost and foundI have a gift in putting things in strange places. I have opened the fridge to find a tea pot staring back. Other items – like an electric device for removing balled lint from sweaters – end up in sock drawers. I think “this will be a great place to put this so I don’t lose it” and then promptly forget, losing it for years. No, it isn’t lost, I argue. I don’t lose things. It is strategically located. Very strategically located. I’m so clever I’m too clever for my own memory.
One day, when we eventually sell the family home, I will repeat one phrase: “ah, that’s where I put that!” Thank God I didn’t play hide and seek with the children very often or there might be skeletons in my closet.

We do this with life. Our best life energy is stored in places we would never look. Boredom. That “I feel disconnected and don’t have the motivation to do anything but want to be entertained” feeling is a rich deposit of life. Unlock that latch by staying close and you will find creativity, untold imagination springing forth. These artists need the space that boredom offers to be found, unpacked and explored. When I was a boy I didn’t stare at my lego and go “what am I meant to do with this now?” I ventured into the unknown. Boredom can take us there better than any other tool.

Suffering. Well, it’s understandable that we wouldn’t want to go looking there. Medication takes us back to the hubbub that substitutes for life. The stairs are the worst part of my house. Much like suffering, all you will find at first glance is stained carpet, cobwebs, dead insects. The stairwell is dark and nobody ever uses it. But I have a a wine cellar under my stairs. The cellar of vintage presence remain hidden beneath suffering’s stairs. Like the bottles that hold fruit that was crushed, my heart holds sweet wine that I can discard because of the crushing.

Grief, the attic that holds all the love we have ever had for anyone we have ever lost, including ourselves. those yellowing photographs only haunt, you say. Let’s move on. But to deny grief is to deny love. It is to reject the years you spent storing up memories in your heart. Even your own losses, these must be grieved, to recall the qualities you gained in life’s travails.

Ah loneliness, there you are. Possibly the greatest storehouse of life energy, loneliness is always prodding at us “look closer, I’m behind here, you are getting warmer” But we retreat in fear, back to Facebook or some reality show that never ends with its pablum of distractions, not noticing that we left truest selves in that basement, still alone, still orphaned.

Life keeps inviting us to look again. Carl Jung, the sage of psychology, stated that “there is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

As evidence, the Cosmos put up a big sign right in the middle of the whole temporal realm. Look here, it shouted. What, at a naked man dying a tortured death while people scorned him? While he felt abandoned, betrayed, lost and alone? What would suffering, grief, loneliness have to teach us?

I recently went to the letterbox to find a beautifully designed wedding invitation waiting there for me. Flourishing fonts, embossing, gold leaf bestowing elegance upon the salubrious event. But life’s most honest invitations are never so pretty. That’s why we ignore them, avoid them, even lose them, why we stumble around wondering where we left ourselves. We don’t really want to know. Fortunately, life will keep placing them in our paths, obstacles we will curse and abuse as we stub our toes on circumstances until we fall, exhausted from the frenzy.

I’m learning to look in those places. Oh, I still grumble and moan and avoid and misplace important things. I’m a master at it. Remember the tea pot? I once lost my self completely and it took years to find where I put me. I still go out of focus at times, and like the glasses that I can’t find perched on my forehead, I’m never too far away.

Much of my life is now spent helping people find their lives. They don’t want to look where I point. Especially men. Men hate hide and seek. They don’t have the patience for it, and they fear they don’t have the courage for it. They know there are dragons to be slain to get to the treasure. They want it to be easy. But where’s the fun in that? Gold is never hidden in obvious places. Which reminds me, I have a bag of fools gold somewhere. Where did I leave that?