A faded pair of Levis.
A grey hooded sweatshirt.
A pair of black Converse.
These styles of clothing have become so ubiquitous, they’ve become a uniform for all ages.
A child might wear them.
A young adult might wear them.
An octogenarian might wear them.
And yet, there are other things that we find a the back of our closets, or that once took up space in our closets, or that we spy on the racks of retro stores, that take us back.
A particular piece of clothing can act as a portal into memory.
This can happen whether we’re wearing the clothing, holding it, or just looking at it. Even seeing an outfit in a photo or video can take us back to that time or place that we once inhabited: our younger selves, our younger bodies, what we were doing in those younger years.
Recently, I was at an event opening with a lot of folks in their 20s and 30s. A young woman walked in, wearing thigh high socks and a mini skirt, and for a moment, I thought I was back there: in my twenties, wearing that exact same outfit.
That same week, I browsed a consignment store with my daughter, and saw the exact same shirt Hawaiian shirt an old friend used to wear.
And then a few days later, flipping through some old photos, I was stunned to find a picture of myself and my father, departed now 16 years. In it, I wore a faded chambray shirt and jeans, my hair about the same length as it is now, my glasses about the same. My father has his arm around my neck, and my face is lifted up, and I’m grinning in pure happiness.
I have this shirt in my closet now. Not the same shirt. But a shirt I bought because it pulled on something in my heart, even though I couldn’t at the time, figure out what that is.
I look at the photo, and see my younger self there.
I look in the mirror, and see my current self there.
I look in meditation and my future self beckons.
We’re both wearing a chambray shirt: old me, new me.
It’s a portal, and it holds space for the past: all those memoires of all that life. And it holds space now: this life, this Now.
We think we change so much, but the personality is cast at birth, or probably even before birth: we carry the essence of this personality, this body forward from past lives, even as we do the work of the soul.
We think we change so much, but looking back, do we change at all?
The you who you wear as a toddler, the you as a teen, the you in all the decades up till now, the you you are today.
The essence of soul carries you forward: the constants of body, personality remain.
Will I still be wearing a chambray shirt at 80?
I have a feeling, it could be so.
P.S. Get my new book Daily Divine: Messages From a Loving Universe.