photo: Justin Henry on flickr

photo: Justin Henry on flickr

What’s the worst thing you ever lost?

A house?

A job?

Your mind?

In the greater scheme of things, my recent loss wasn’t very big.

In fact, it was teeny weeny.

Here’s what I lost:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For those of you who aren’t sure what you’re looking at, it’s a top to a water bottle.

The water bottle itself looks like this:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

When the bottle and its top are reunited in their perfect coupling, they look like this:

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

Isn’t that just the most beautiful thing you ever saw?

Okay, maybe there are more beautiful things.

Like this:

photo: DinosaursAreNotDead on flickr

photo: DinosaursAreNotDead on flickr

And this:

photo: Domenico Salvagnin on flickr

photo: Domenico Salvagnin on flickr

And this:

photo: Jenny Downing on flickr

photo: Jenny Downing on flickr

But for me, the water bottle/top combo is right up there.

Which is why I was so devastated when I recently lost the top to my water bottle.

How could it be? How on earth could I have misplaced such a rare and precious possession?!

Actually, it wasn’t surprising at all.

I lose my water bottle all the time. I even write my name on the bottom of it, just on the off-chance that the person who finds it knows that “Z” is actually the name of a person, and that that person is me.

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

Sometimes this happens and I get my water bottle back. Sometimes my water bottle is lost forever.

But in this case, it was just the top that was missing.

It was very annoying. What good is water bottle without a top?

Actually, it’s still good for drinking water, but it gets a little tricky when you take it in the car with you.

Trust me, I know.

photo: Melissa Phillippe

photo: Melissa Phillippe

When my water bottle top first went missing, I searched our house high and low. I was certain I would find it.

It’s not like it had little legs and could sneak off in the middle of the night. Wherever it was, it was just sitting there, waiting for the day when I would find it and reunite it with its mate.

But that day didn’t come. I couldn’t find the water bottle top anywhere.

I started to wonder what it meant. What was the metaphorical significance of losing a water bottle top?

My head wasn’t screwed on straight? I was too “open,” too loose with my boundaries?

Or maybe it meant something magnificent, like I my crown chakra was totally open to the wisdom of the entire Universe.

photo: Peter Savich on flickr

photo: Peter Savich on flickr

Except I kept getting my pants wet any time I took my water bottle in the car, so I didn’t really feel aligned with the cosmos.

Finally, I stopped looking.

I had no choice. My water bottle top was gone. Sucked into that magic place where extra socks and favorite pens live.

Or so I thought.

One day, I opened the drawer to my desk.

And there, perched happily among the paper clips and desk paraphernalia, was my water bottle top!!

photo: z egloff

photo: z egloff

I open that desk drawer every day! Not once did I notice the water bottle top in there.

I would love to say that it’s because my water bottle top really did vanish to a magic place, and then miraculously reappeared. But, alas, this is not the case.

I didn’t see my water bottle top in the drawer because I didn’t expect to see it there. It wasn’t supposed to be there, so I didn’t see it there.

Have you ever had that happen? You can’t see what’s right in front of your face?

Like you’re looking for someone to love you, and you don’t notice all the people who already do. Or you’re looking for a better job, and you don’t notice all the things you like about your current one.

You’re so intent on finding a certain thing in a certain place, you’re blind to what’s right in front of you.

That’s why stopping the search can be so effective.

When you let go of expectations of where something is supposed to be, you open your eyes to finding it somewhere else. Somewhere unexpected.

I’ve had this happen time and time again. With vocations. And partners.

And now, my water bottle top.

I’m just so glad we’re reunited.

The best part is that now I can go for a ride in my car and keep my pants dry.

Whoo hoo!!

photo: Melissa Phillippe

photo: Melissa Phillippe

What’s your experience with letting go of the search? Share your comments below!

Wanna support the work Melissa and I are doing in the world? Be on our Angel Team! Click HERE.
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