This is my yellow purse of wanting. When a friend sent me its photograph, I thought (still think) it was beautiful. I imagined carrying it even though I don’t carry a purse because most purses are too heavy and I’d rather wear my old two-dollar wrist wallet to run in and out of stores than schlep a purse, but in my imagined yellow purse life, I carry purses, particularly this purse. In my yellow purse life, carrying in this purse makes my life better. People stop me on the street, they ooh, they ahh, they say, what good taste you have. You must be a good person. A fashion icon.
The yellow purse (well, actually it’s golden. That makes it sound better) started taking up brain real estate. Wanting it. Figuring out how to order it. Feeling the catch in my heart when I want something I don’t have. The leaning out. I wrote about it a few years ago in a piece called “The Blue Vest” in This Messy Magnificent Life. I wrote about it forty years ago in a piece called “If Only I Had, Then I Would be Happy” in my first book, Feeding the Hungry Heart. And here I am, writing about it again.
If the thing keeps changing, it can’t be about the thing because if it really was the answer, all it would take is one perfect thing. So this time I held off buying it and asked myself what I actually want when I want the yellow purse. And I realized that wanting a yellow purse isn’t any different than wanting my unavailable mother to be available. Or wanting the perfect partner. Or wanting success. Or a best friendship.
Because it’s only ever about wanting what we believe will fill us. Complete us. Allow us finally to relax and be at peace. And that in turn is about contacting the part that doesn’t feel wanted and saying, I see you sweetheart and I want you. Forgive me for leaving so many times when I thought that green sweater or that man or finishing that book or those motorcycle boots were going to satisfy you.
We all experience yellow purses of wanting in different areas: The yellow purse of money. The yellow purse of success. The yellow purse of best friendship. The yellow purse of intimacy with a partner. But while many of those may add sweetness to our lives, it’s never really about any of those. Or as a friend says, the thing is never the thing. It’s what’s below the thing. What’s below the wanting. Go there. Touch that. Feed your hungry heart.