Most brides find a lot of pleasure in compiling their registries, their wish-lists for future domestic bliss—the copper pots, the crystal stem-ware, the high thread-count pillow cases. Naturally, a lot of the enjoyment is aspirational (“Williams Sonoma Professional Grade Panini Press with Bluetooth Speaker, in Gold”). And who doesn’t like getting presents, particularly ones you pick out yourself? But the real pleasure in selecting registry items comes from visualizing the home that you and your partner are in the process of creating.
This isn’t entirely materialistic. Sure, it’s satisfying to pick out the linens for the master bedroom, or the brand of juicer you’ll be using to make your morning green drink (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvCxyyd_Kdk&feature=plcp). But what I enjoy most is the anticipation of the meals we’ll be cooking together over the years, the nights we’ll spend in each other’s company. My fiancée and I dream of a shared life, and by clicking on a set of bath towels, we come a tiny bit closer to that reality. These little material choices — cast iron or nonstick?—are ways of adding texture to our imagination of a joined existence. It’s a way of giving that future a physical presence, of grounding the wonderful experiences to come in the present moment.
None of our registry gifts, no matter their labels or price tags, are remotely meaningful outside of that context. A coffee pot is just a lump of ceramic unless it helps form the background of shared Sunday breakfasts, of morning kisses, of years of intimacy. It’s all just stage dressing for the real act.
In much the same way, one of yoga’s biggest lessons is context. When I’m on my mat, I can clearly see how the externalities of my daily life — all the stuff that’s filling up the breakfast nook of my soul—is just stage dressing. Like the coffee pot on my registry, they’re just the background to the real story, and the real joy, of my existence. That doesn’t take away from the pleasure of the material or routine, but it shouldn’t ever distract. So even when my fiancée and I are scrolling through flatware patterns, I know that they’re just designs on a spoon. What matters is that our hands touch when we click the mouse.