Special Agent Dale Cooper, from Twin Peaks fame said, “When two things happen simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry we must pay special attention.”  Now, Agent Cooper may be a fictional character, but he was a character who was enamored with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and that’s pretty solid in my book.  Agent Cooper also claimed to be a Tibetan Buddhist. Again, good crowd.  He believed in, every day, giving himself a present.  This is a philosophy I can sit with.

So, I’ve taken these words about paying special attention and expanded them. I believe, there are messages of Guidance around us all the time.  All we have to do is listen.  Many of the messages are quiet, what some refer to as “the still small voice.”  It’s easy to ignore if you choose.  But sometimes the Universe decides to make sure you hear.  That’s when I pay special attention.

My statement, I know, is no more pithy than Agent Cooper’s, but, I feel, equally wise.  When the same thing comes up within recent memory from different sources, you must pay special attention.

In Susan Jeffer’s December Newsletter she asks us to Lighten Up.  In quotes she says, learn how to “wear the world like a loose garment.”  The December 22nd Daily Inspiration from Alan Cohen said, “Seek to wear life like a loose garment.”  Source unknown.

Well, I wanted to find out more about it.  I’ve been reading and talking this stuff for a long time and this concept of the loose garment has never come up.  Maybe it had to do with the Holiday season, but my perception was that I heard about the same intriguing concept from two separate sources within a few days of each other.

My search turned up some interesting things.  It’s mentioned in AA literature and attributable to St. Francis and quoted in a Christian sermon.  A Zen Buddhist referred to it and wondered “Who is the more “worthy”? One who spends 10 minutes trying to find a listing of the historical first uttering of the advice to “wear life like a loose garment” or the one who says ‘yeah – it’s an old adage that’s very true’ and moves on?”  I claim to be both.
From a web site called everydaywonderland.com, an article said this:
“St. Francis advised that you should “wear the world like a loose garment,” and what he meant was that in order to be free, you need to be in the world without relying on it for shelter. A way of being that allows everything to come and go, not clinging to anything that arises; to regard any form of external security as temporary, and being willing to relinquish all forms of outwardly derived pleasure or satisfaction.”

The Sermon went on to cite Susan Jeffers from her book, “End the Struggle and Dance with Life”. “In the story, an old woman is asked why she is always calm and cheerful. Her answer is beautiful. ‘Well, I wear this world just as a loose garment.’  It implies no judgment, for everything is as it should be.”

The quote continues, “Wearing the world as a loose garment is a metaphor for holding the balance between embrace and detachment, intimacy and autonomy, the present moment and impermanence. In striving for this balance, you discover within all the help you ever wanted and all the comfort you ever desired.”

I also found the reference, strangely enough, in the fashion world.

I like the vision of wearing loose clothing. Clothes you would wear when you’re relaxed and at ease.  Not having to stick to rules or dress up for anyone.  Free of attachments, anything that binds or fears of outcome or having to prove yourself.

It is an easy metaphor to grasp.  Everyone has worn clothes that fit well and those that are too tight.

I think it’s about loosening up, letting go of attachments and expectations. About being flexible and allowing life to breeze through your loose garment.

I use it with things like my schedule.  I choose what I want to do, but life has a way of changing things.  Like bending in the wind, if you’re loose you can roll with it.  If I find myself pressed up against the wall, tight and uncomfortable, it often helps to relax into whatever is happening.  Think of those loose fitting clothes.  As if I was home, in my relaxed clothing, I can allow.  I’m practicing allowing myself to do what I feel inspired to do, even if it’s not what I intended to do.  Or do what comes up in front of my face, asking for my attention.  If it does that, it’s probably more important than the prescribed agenda I’d previously set up for myself.  I always feel, if I go with what seems to be asking for my attention, I may not get as much as I originally intended, but I will do a far better job. If you feel you need to clean up your desk before doing the books and you follow that, you may find that you have a clearer head for doing the books and do a better job, and enjoy it more.

I just want to be more loose about these things.  I’d like to say that we always have a choice.  But some people don’t feel like they do.  In the moment, now, you have to do this, even though you feel you need to do that.  If you will find a place to do this other thing, as soon as you can, you will feel better.  If you say you don’t have time for that, I’d say you have some belt loosening to do.  If every moment of your life is booked, you’re not wearing loosely.

This has little to do with productivity.  Well, in practice, it may, in fact, make you more productive to be loose.  Wearing life loosely doesn’t mean shifting your responsibilities.  It’s about doing everything you do with a lighter hand, a softer touch and an easier breath.

Just thinking about this phrase living life like a loose garment eases my shoulders and slows my breathing, softens my muscles, unclenches my jaw.  I’m halfway there!

I’m thinking that wearing life loosely allows you to, quite naturally, let go of the outcome.  If you’re loose and comfortable, you’re not worried about the future.  The minute you start to worry, you can become aware of the tight pants, the strong bands around your wrists or neck.

I went to a conference once. An important industry event and my Aunt Edith said to me, “Make sure yours shoes are comfortable.  If they’re not, it’ll be all you think about.”  Yeah, yeah, sure.  I brushed it off. I had some beautiful new shoes and I was going to wear them!  Lo and behold, she was so right.  I was fixated on my shoes and looking for a chair every chance I could.  The next day, I changed my shoes and boy was I glad I did! 

I knew a band once called “Loose Shoes.”  They played all kinds of music and whenever they played you wanted to get up and dance.  What great motivation it is to feel you have enough room in your shoes to get up and dance!  Your happy feet just can’t keep still.

When you live life loosely, things come to you when you need it. Being easier allows the opportunities to arise, the answers to pop up unexpectedly. Try it.  Just remind yourself to live life more loosely and see how you feel and what can happen!

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