By Gordon Dermitris
My life style is very Spartan. Except for my knickknacks.
I’m semi-nomadic, I don’t have television, and I don’t partake of small talk, sports or intoxicants. I eat non-spiced, whole foods and I meditate all evening. I’m as close to a real deal mendicant as you can get. Only thing, I’m a mystic with knickknacks.
Knickknacks define me
For many moons now I pray to the heavens for union while sacrificing the stability of a day job. My entire existence is about the grace of oneness and transcendence. I can live without attachments to material things. But I can’t live without all the little gifts I’ve received from people whom adore me, and from yard sales.
Throughout the rugged terrain of soul searching and renunciation, my knickknacks also remind me of my homeland, the suburbs. Each little item is like its own little strip mall and housing association. Hey, I’ve renounced the world, I deserve a few knickknacks from the ‘burbs!
Knickknacks enhance the holiness of everything
I’ve lived in the wilderness, meditated in caves, and I also travel to sacred sites. I’ve lived in shacks and barren condos, and I sleep on a pallet softened by a quarter inch Ridgerest camping pad. I don’t let jobs distract me, but I’ve tried.
When I’m in a medicine wheel, or at Stonehenge, or an undecorated apartment sublet, my knickknacks help to personalize the sacredness of the situation. Everything is austere, but in my own little quirky way.
Knickknacks stave off loneliness
My knickknacks remind me that I am loved.
I have complete reverence to that old timey feeling of a minimalist spirituality. But one thing that enhances the domesticity of renunciation is my collection of baubles that grow in numbers at every birthday and Christmas. I measure my value in the world by the lack of shelf space I have when I have shelves.
I own a yoga mat, meditation cushion and a backpack. That’s it. And about 31 knickknacks to help cushion the blow of complete asceticism. Each knickknack reminds me of the attachment someone has for me, or was only fifty cents at a thrift store.
Small enough to be parts of an altar
With the exception of my I Love Lucy box set and my Monty Python box set, every one of my knickknacks it the perfect size for a sacred altar. But if I just make a bigger altar, both of these box sets would fit in just fine.
My most precious possession is my soul’s connection to the Great Spirit. I am nothing without God. Also, two bottles of olive oil and hot peppers, a black hand-powered fruit juicer, natural oil candle, mortar and pestle, aloe plant re-sprouting in a Tupperware, a ceramic jar, a rehabilitating orchid, glass dolphin on top of a candle, blue glass jar, ceramic house to cover a tea light, five sea shells, one sea stone, ceramic dolphin, 9 candles, glass candle cover, the aforementioned I Love Lucy and Monty Python box sets, plastic Elvis wand, clock, photo album, and little ceramic dish in which to light sage.
Knickknacks are the vaccine of materialism
I strengthen my spirit by keeping my body away from the snares of material entrapment.
Knickknacks help satisfy my material desires without giving in to greater cravings for things bigger than a breadbox. My trinkets and constant homelessness are vaccines against wanting to possess more trinkets.
My tastes are simple, and so the whole world is my spice cabinet. Which reminds me, I should get an actual spice cabinet to add to my collection.
If you’ll excuse me, I need to line up my 31-piece altar so I can bare my soul in its most humble state.
I’ll never let the chains of materialism get too many links. The entire rat race is centered upon possessiveness. But not me, I just want a few knickknacks and I’m ready to relinquish all other attachments.
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Photo credit above: Stonehenge: Glenn Harper/flickr
Medicine wheel: Michael Nickel/flickr
Monk’s Cave: Soham Banarjee/flickr