Janus’ Joy


These are the items that made it into my Joy Jar for 2014. And, yes, I already have a jar for 2015, though I have to take the wild rice out of it so I can use it. There are a lot of good memories in here, and you should know that things got so crazy after my move that there are many beautiful moments that aren’t represented because I forgot to drop in a stone when they happened. Yet, the jar is still so full I have to stuff the things in to make them all fit. 2014 was a large and wonderful year for me, and I haven’t added a marker from last night or from my recent trip yet. I need to do that today.

But it is the bittersweet, the Janus part, that I want to talk about today. There are a great number of items that represent time and adventures spent with someone I am very unlikely to see again. I look back, and I smile, because these events happened and I was filled with joy in those moments. I look forward and know they will not happen anymore, and I am saddened. Janus. I see in both directions.

In the past I would have, mostly without noticing, erased all these events from my mind. I am very good at Dissociative Memory Loss, having had four decades of practice. Today, I am deciding I don’t want to do that. I would lose the pain, but I would also lose all that joy. The trade-off is not worth it. I want to keep the joy, and so I will sit with the pain as well. Later today, I will go through the trinkets, and I will record in my journal the joyful memories around this person so that I have the joy forever. And then I will finish letting the person go. It’s quite possible that I should have done this yesterday, in the old year, but I was busy doing yet more joyful things yesterday and so did not have time to sit and reflect in a manner worthy of what I want to record for myself.

I had an interesting discussion on the way to New York about non-attachment. My travel companion thinks that you cannot love someone as deeply in a non-attached way as you can in an attached way. I disagree. I think that choosing to love someone without expectations allows both parties to enter into relationship fully and freely for as long as they mutually choose to do so. And it allows a relationship to follow its natural course– even when the parties change and the relationship does not go the way I hope. It makes it easier for me to continue to think of them with fondness, to genuinely wish for them peace and joy and all good things. It makes me more willing to sit with the pain of loss, because I still get to count all the joy as mine.

Non-attachment doesn’t preclude hurt and confusion, but it does preclude anger, because if I have no expectations from the outset, there is nothing to be angry about. Non-attachment allows me to continue to love someone, even when we are no longer in communion. I’ll take that over bitterness any day of the week.