"You approach a small house on the island, upon entering you see a special friend. Your friend hands you a large box, beautifully wrapped, with a bow of your favorite color. You open the box to find a smaller box also beautifully wrapped. In this smaller box is everything you need to continue your journey."
This was a scene in my latest meditation. I received the second box with a calm happiness, for it was given with love. I wondered what further tools I would need to continue this journey of self-exploration, of growth, of self-acceptance.
In peace and tranquility, I opened the box.
It was empty.
I was actually elated, for it was then I knew. I don't need anything else, nor anyone else. I already have all the tools or skills I need to continue this journey. I may need to recover them from the depths of my toolbox, dust them off, and sharpen some of them. It's been a long time since I was on a journey like this. In a long term relationship we sometimes stop discovering ourselves while we are discovering our partner and then try to navigate life's challenges with someone else by our side, so some of my tools are a little rusty. It's often difficult to see yourself within the context of a relationship, even though it's the best laboratory for self-discovery as long as you take the time to observe yourself, which, admittedly, is not an easy thing to do.
Actually, I contradict myself. I really do need someone else. I need to see myself in situations with new people, so I can learn more about myself in new contexts: professional contexts; social contexts, both straight and gay; and eventually, dating contexts. And I need someone, a professional, to help me sort out what I learn about myself in order to internalize it, accept it and move forward.
I shared my understanding with my meditation group, and the leader asked me how was I going to remember that I already had everything I needed for my journey. Without hesitation I replied, "I'll make an empty box." And that is what you see below. I made this little origami box, choosing the crane patterned paper because of the legends of the crane. In Greek and Roman myths, the dance of the cranes was considered to be a symbol of the love of joy and a celebration of life itself. The crane also symbolized Apollo, the sun god, who heralded in spring and light, and rebirth. Throughout Asia, the crane has many significances, among them, happiness and eternal youth; in Japan, China and Korea in particular, longevity and good fortune.