I don't own anything.

I don't own any thing.

I don't own any thing.

The things that are here, that I have here in my and our home, they're living here with us too. It feels more like adoption, maybe. Certainly not "ownership". But even "adoption" might be stating it too strongly, because in my way of knowing they are all free to go when they're ready, or when I'm ready. All relationship is mutual, and in my way of being in this world I am particularly sensitive to this.

The language of ability and disability is strangely subjective. We all have a few working examples of "disability" that leap to mind immediately, when that word is spoken. A little bit less so with "ability", I think, but still, there's an implicit baseline that we're all working from. That's not bad, but it means that "ability" and "disability" are cultural shorthand, and the longhand form speaks to the subjectivity of it. I am socially disabled, because I lack the social sense held by most of the bell curve. In a world built for me, I am no such thing.

I bring this up because we can think of things as being disabled themselves, in a sense. When a concept protrudes into this reality as a physical object, it (usually) doesn't come with organic motion. Such objects can only move through the world in the hands of more abled persons. In my way of thinking, they still have their own measure of health and their own desire for homeostasis, but they need a hand -- they need caretakers who are sensitive to what they can say, because they also have disability of speech, and even fewer people speak Object than sign language.

Ah! They are guests. That's what it is. It's not ownership, it's not adoption. My home is a guest house, and those who have taken up residence do not do so permanently, but they are warmly welcomed and cared for just the same. Human, animal, plant, object. Flesh, stone, ceramic, fiber. They each "speak" a language of their own, and I think I'm more sensitive than most humans to that communication.

Indigenous peoples speak of asking for a tree's consent before taking of its resources. This feels related to what I do with objects, though not exactly the same. I don't think I'm wired to "push" my intent into the world. My human design chart says that I'm wired to "wait for the invitation", and that notion feels deeply relaxing, like deep reprieve -- like permission to take the more relaxed/passive/waiting posture that feels native to me, instead of forcing myself into the more tight/active/seeking posture that I see in so many. So for me, it's less holding an aim and seeking willing collaborators; it's much more of a wandering through the world, sensitive to incoming invitations from those around me, be they human, animal, plant, or object.

(I do precisely the same thing with software, by the way, but I'm starting here with physical objects because the lexicon for those is more familiar to more people. Also, it's what I feel like I was invited to write about today.)

The language of a guesthouse is slightly at odds with the direction of invitation here. I'm not inviting guests in, specifically. In the paragraph above, I talked about the opposite: waiting for my guests to invite me to invite them in. :D It's a dance that I think annoys some of my peers at times, but it's truly what I'm wired for. I'm not here to ask for things. I'm here to move through this world, almost drifting but not quite, more so tilting towards the invitations that I sense. And every so often, I bump into something that wants to come along. It's more like they (humans, animals, plants, objects) ask me, "may I join you?" I'm free to decline, and I do, often. But to some I say yes, and if by the time I answer they still want in, in they come, and we have a brilliant time together.

Their departure is also joy, I should say. Sometimes an object leaves in the hands of a human, after a new series of invitation and assent. Sometimes an object goes to a nonprofit whose aim is to do right by the world in the taking. Sometimes it goes out in the trash. I don't hold myself to constant standards here. People are okay with eating plants, I'm okay with taking out the trash. But it's always with blessing, thanking that which was here for the time we shared, and sending it on with an earnest wish for its wellness.

All of this falls into the category of "things I'm aware I cannot prove", which overlaps almost completely with "things that I'm content to be wrong about, because the notion (1) harms no one, (2) contributes greatly to my own health and happiness, and (3) makes me a better contributor to the health and happiness of all". A lot of how I exist in this world is like this. More of it over time, actually, now that I think about it.

I've been bringing small ceramic teacups with me to the coffee shop down the street, when I go for my morning espresso. I think each barista in turn has asked me, independently, "where do you get these?". "Everywhere", is the answer; I'm always ready for one to announce itself to me when I'm out there in the world. I have no idea where each individual teacup came from. It almost doesn't matter. What matters is the soul of that vessel, and the time we get to share. My memory isn't inclined to track the particulars of history, and my mind isn't inclined to scry the particulars of future.

To the very best of my honest understanding, we are content together, and happy to be so. :)

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