The other day, I couldn’t find my towels.
I checked everywhere and—nothing. I wracked my brain. Where were they? I was so confused. I even started to get angry with myself. How does someone lose towels?! Maybe I had left them somewhere?
In my perplexed search, I walked back into my living room, which shares space with the dining room nook that is surrounded by high, angular windows on both sides.
And then, I look up—and see them.
Some context: with the intense heat of Portland summer and no air conditioning in my apartment, I have to take matters into my own hands to keep my place cool—as best I can. My best was covering the windows—with towels.
I stood there stunned. I had completely forgotten that the towels were hanging there. I had put them up maybe 10 days before in an attempt to block the intense late afternoon sun.
And then, I started thinking. What other things in our lives have become so familiar that we forget about them? What parts of ourselves have we stopped looking at because we take them for granted?
These towels had faded into the architecture of the house—so much so that I literally couldn’t see them anymore. I was walking around looking for them when they were right in front of my face. And because I had jumped to the conclusion that they had been misplaced, I blocked my vision (and trust) from finding them. It was only when I looked up and expanded my visual view, that I was able to re-discover them.
I got to thinking some more. What gifts do we possess that we just throw out mentally because we think someone else has a better gift than we do? How much do we block our own abundance because we are focused so much on the gift that someone else has? What blessings do we disregard because we believe other people’s blessings are better, more fun, more important, or more valuable? I’d imagine there are many. And not only do we compare, we judge—mostly, ourselves.
So many spiritual teachings talk about the importance of gratitude. Since the universe functions as a big mirror, what we think and believe is reflected back to us in experiences—specifically, our perception of those experiences. When we become grateful (i.e. remembering and honoring what we have instead of what we don’t), we create more of whatever it is we wish re-discover. When we remember that we are limitless as spiritual beings, we start to reflect that idea in the choices we make and the energy we hold.
Like attracts like in the spiritual universe.
So here I am. Still a little weirded out about this whole towel situation, I sat down in my living room and closed my eyes. Letting go of anything I thought was missing in my life, I started to realize how truly blessed I am.
The first thought I had was that I have a place to live in which to hang towels. Many people don’t.
I have a kitchen five steps away filled with lots of choices of foods to eat. Many people are starving.
I have running water and bathroom facilities, and can bathe whenever I choose. Many people don’t have these options.
I am college-educated, have traveled the world, and have held many jobs. Many people don’t have the option of even reading these words.
And the big one? I have love in my life. I have friends who care to ask how my day was, I have a mother who always wants me safe and secure, I have people I can turn to if I am scared, confused, lonely, or just need a hug. So many people are truly alone.
I opened my eyes and felt so rich. I have so much. Who would have thought that a set of towels would make me realize this? That’s just how the universe works sometimes: the realization of our blessings often come from things we usually take for granted. We are given a chance to uncover our own life as it really is—beautiful, abundant, and sacred.
We are given a reset.
Now I can’t even remember the things I thought I should have. Instead, I honor the things I do have. How amazing our own gifts become when we stop starving them of their power and start to truly see them. We are a part of a magnificent continuum—and as we start the realize the beauty of our own story, we are able to heal and enjoy everything around us.
With the heatwave now over, the towels have been taken down, neatly folded, and put away. But the lesson is there forever—to clean the judgmental film from my vision and see things as they truly are.
And they are perfect.
Author: Elizabeth Gordon
Image: Allie Dearie/Unsplash
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Travis May