One City

One City

A Lesson in Impermanence

This past week I had the unfortunate experience of having my wallet stolen. All I know is that I had it and two blocks and one stop at a shoe store later, it was gone. As soon as I realized it was missing, my friend and I raced back to the shoe store, but no wallet. What’s ironic is that I was listening to a podcast on mindfulness before I left the house.


(image courtesy of matiasjajaja)


My initial reaction was a sort of panic and then annoyance that a) someone apparently took my wallet and b) the relaxing day I had been enjoying with my friend felt ruined. She accompanied me to two banks as I cancelled my cards, loaned me some cash and bought us Thai food. As I was sitting there still feeling angry she said, “Well, at least it’s all replaceable.” I thought about that simple statement for a moment and couldn’t disagree. I told her she was right and then decided to just accept it and move on.


So, this experience actually ended up being a good, though somewhat inconvenient, lesson in impermanence. It was also a reminder that while we can’t control the actions of others, we do have responsibility for our own reactions…and that’s pretty empowering. Sitting around pouting about something I can’t change is a choice- it’s me deciding to ruin my own day by playing the blame game. Though accepting and letting go still might not always be my innate response, I’m practicing being able to get there a little quicker, and that constitutes some progress.


Comments read comments(7)
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Julia May

posted June 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm

Sorry you lost your wallet, Denise! I love letting go of my bad moods when I realize the only day I’m ruining is my own …

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posted June 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm

Alternate Julia May comment:
Sorry you lost your wallet, Denise! I too am always losing my wallet ..

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posted June 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Sorry, Denise, that you lost your wallet- but then again, you found friendship and mind(fulness). Your friend offered you help and love, fed you and cared for you; with good practice you both turned the day around and appreciated the world’s gifts.
Good for you both.;)

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Julia May

posted June 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

Also true.

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tamara hyman

posted June 16, 2009 at 11:45 am

“In India they say when a pickpocket meets a Saint, the pickpocket sees only the Saint’s pockets.” from Legacy of the Heart- Wayne Muller

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posted June 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I lost my check card 2 weeks ago and just got a replacement last Friday. I know the frustration involved but as was said “at least it can be replaced”.

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Your Name

posted June 18, 2009 at 7:58 am

Are there picpocketers in America?I don’t hear any case reported in the news though.hmmm….maybe you’re working in a charity institution
like helping in the orphanage,so when you give your donation maybe
you felt like you were being pickpocketed,lol.
Here’s an inspirational beatitude for you”Blessed are the merciful,for
they shall obtain mercy.”God’s goodness and mercy and His capability
to care for His creation is strongly demonstrated through all these
institutions in helping the poor ones in our society,the merciful
hearts give,the poor and all the needy receives the grace.By extending our helping hands,desserved or undesserved,we are indeed
a good steward of God’s riches here on Earth.

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