Tethers

A mention of “tethers” recently occurred in a conversation with Chris Coniaris, my friend and yoga teacher. Chris lives a rigorously simple, mostly untethered life. I admire his spartan ethic. A tether is typically considered a limitation, something that ties one down and restricts range of movement. In its most restrictive application, it’s incarceration.

Free is tether’s antonym. Is freedom a luxury? A security? Is it a source of comfort? Discomfort? Do you want it and do you know what you’d do with it if you had freedom? Who can handle it? If you disconnect from your tethers, then does liberation follow? Are commitments tethers? Can a tether be a responsibility with a reward? Without tethers, we’d never own houses, we’d never have children or pets, and we’d not have as much opportunity to reap dividends gained by overcoming difficulties.

After years of ruminating about the meaning of life, reading about it, listening to lyrics about it, and discussing it, I’m still not absolutely clear that I know what this is for me. I do know that I’d be unlikely to find meaning in the absence of relationship to others. A close friend of mine and I have an agreement related to the end of life. In the event that either one of us loses cognitive or other functional facility to sustain relationships. the functional person, where possible and legal, will assist in the non-functional person’s elective euthanasia. Life without relationship isn’t worth living. I’ll not give up my tether to relationships.

My dog Lola is a tether. I wouldn’t give up my relationship with her for anything. The love I’m able to give and receive turns the tether of this responsibility into its own reward.

I neither plan nor desire to live the rest of my life as a single person. I want and need to bump up against a significant other. I have a girlfriend, Sheila Cullen, with whom I’ve been an open book regarding my needs and interests. She knows that I love her but she also knows that I need our togetherness to accommodate my independence. My relationship with Sheila is a tether that I embrace.

Tethers come with more questions than answers. This conversation about tethers ties back to my previous post about decisions. Barring unforeseen circumstances, my RV will arrive in April. I’ll be tethered to taking good care of it, paying for it, insuring it, and improving it. I relish the opportunity that comes with this tether. My decision to not replace my home at the time of its sale is about a tether that always has taken time, energy, and resources that come with the territory. The home that I’ve lived in for 15 1/2 years and will part with in a month takes more out of me than it gives back to me at this time in my life.

Becoming untethered is being set loose. I’ll take advantage of being set loose but I’ll not disconnect.

Published by jmlewisjr

Hello. This is Jimmy Lewis. I'm in Memphis, Tennessee. My golden doodle, Lola and I are leaving on a North American tour in May, 2021. We'll be traveling in a 2021 Jayco Melbourne 24L motorhome. We have neither time constraints nor exact destination specifications. We'll spend May in Virginia, North and South Carolina, and then head north through New York, Maryland, Massachusetts and Vermont. If Canadians resume the practice of putting out a welcome mat for Americans, then we'll cross the border.  The seed for this journey began after my wife, Sarla passed away in May, 2020. Sarla was a yogi. An early yoga teacher of hers implored her to "Have what you need, and use what you have." As I prepare to close on the sale of our home on April 30, 2021, I'm deciding what I need based on the likelihood of using what I have. I give some things away without a flicker of feeling. When more meaningful items like the piano I inherited from my parents leave the premises, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to an old friend for the last time. Sarla's death lessened my attachment to the home we had enjoyed for 15 years and life as I knew it. I didn't need and couldn't possibly use a house that could satisfy the needs of a family with four children. I'll no longer experience residence, a concept identified with staying in a specified place, as I've heretofore known it. Life will never be the same, nor do I want to attempt to shape my future into a likeness of what I once knew.   I've set my sights on adventure. I want to be challenged by not knowing who or what I'll meet on the road. The outdoors is one of my default antidotes for stress. Other than my rig, I won't have an indoors base. Whereas others might opt to downsize so that they have the stability of a landing spot, I won't be able to go "home" as I've known it. I'm jazzed about the prospect of being at the whim of the muse, to go where my finger lands on turning pages of the Rand McNally atlas. My dog, Lola is indifferent even though I've been talking to her about the journey every day. She looks quizzically at me when I enthusiastically say we're hitting the road together. I'm confident that she'll do well. We've previously driven together to and from a destination 12 hours from home. She curiously gazed out the window and occasionally snoozed in the passenger seat. She didn't express displeasure about the podcasts and music selection that I chose to entertain and inform me while driving. This trip isn't driven by personal goals. Will I learn more about myself? Will I take advantage of the opportunity to reflect? Will I be lonely? Will I be uneasy? I'm motivated by a curiosity to follow the questions.

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