I broke both of my favorite bowls last night. Both of them. In one swift move. I had stacked them together to take them to the kitchen, and was puling a fork out from between them, so they wouldn't teeter and... break. Ironic. Stupid. I actually cried over broken bowls, but hey, I liked them a lot.
It's not like they're rare or irreplaceable. Nothing around here is. Nothing in my care will ever become vintage. Some things might become "wabi sabi," as in used, well worn, loved, perfect in their imperfection. A chipped teacup that's still useful is wabi sabi. A bowl with one side missing is just broken. I have sent my grandmother's wedding glasses to my sister, who will keep them safe, and probably never use them. I've put other delicate family heirlooms in storage, carefully wrapped and padded, and look forward to dumping them on my children. My bowls are broken because I loved them enough to use them. In a way, I feel good about that.
The thing is, I was concentrating on not breaking them. I know better than that. The Universe doesn't hear the word "not." It only hears all that concentration on "breaking," and does its darndest to grant me what it thinks I'm wishing for. I know this, but when will I learn it?
Years ago, in another town, another house, with another husband, we were cleaning up the front of the house so my father-in-law, who had trouble walking, wouldn't trip when he came to visit. We moved every stick and twig and rock. And as we stood there feeling a sense of accomplishment, out little boy, about two years old, came running towards us, tripped over his own foot, and hit his chin on the cement step at the front door. At the emergency room, where the poor little guy got his first stitches, I vaguely understood what had happened. All that worry about tripping brought exactly what we were worrying about.
It's happened again and again over the years, so you'd think I'd know better by now. I guess I don't. I'm now able to spot it the instant after it happens, but I still "trip myself up" now and then. At least this time it was bowls, and not somebody's chin. Communication with fellow humans is a tricky enough thing to deal with every day. Communication with the Universe can sometimes seem like an uncrackable intergalactic code.
It's sort of funny though - while I was eating my last dinner from my favorite bowl, I was thinking that maybe I should use one of our smaller, more humble bowls, instead of the really big, extra pretty ones. I'm trying to cut back a bit, to lose a few pounds so I can run better. A smaller bowl makes for instant portion control. I guess Dear Universe agreed.
On the bright side, sort of, I didn't have to wash the broken bowls when it came time to clean up the kitchen. But I did anyway, carefully cleaning them one last time, and stacking the shards in a pretty, almost wabi sabi pile. I couldn't throw them out. They're in my office now, sitting on a shelf like a sad bit of sculpture. I have a friend who does mosaics, and I hope she'll want them for that. If not, I'll keep them around for a while, as a reminder to think about what I want, and ignore what I don't want. Eventually I'll let them go, one way or another, but maybe I'll keep just one small broken bit, as a reminder to watch my thoughts.