Enlightenment in A Handbag

For years I joked that when I found the perfect purse, I’d know I’d attained enlightenment. This would be a handbag with an easy-access outer pouch for my cell phone, not too many internal compartments for losing stuff, and a kind of all-season quality that would make it fashionable in summer or winter.

In search of the Miracle Purse, I began to notice a pattern—a new purse would inevitably enter my wardrobe on the cusp of a major life change.  Just before my husband proposed to me, I coincidentally tossed out my canvas satchel for a spiffy leather tote. Before I learned I was pregnant with my first child, a friend gifted me a new purse with twice as much room as my old one (enough for diapers and diaper wipes, in fact).

Soon, I began to see the same pattern in other women’s lives. My mother, who used the same handbag for years, won a new one in a store draw a month before she unexpectedly found herself widowed. My friend had her purse stolen just before the discovery her husband was cheating on her—by the time she bought a new handbag, divorce talks were underway.

When you stop to think about this, a woman’s handbag (and man’s billfold) is not just any old container. Wallets and handbags are repositories for identification, the place we keep that which names us and proves to the world who we are.  We carry our valuable ID around in portable containers prone to theft, loss and damage. This leaves our sense of identification, our “I-ness”, entirely vulnerable and yet somehow we still cling to a belief that because these items are on our person, they are safe and sound. The truth is God can snatch your “me” away any old time, no matter how well you  clutch or guard your sense of self.

Take me for example. When I woke up from the dream of self,  it was as if my everyday identity had been lifted by a cosmic pick pocket. In one overnight heist, my whole self-identification went missing. At first I walked dazed through the world. Robbed of 49 years of a crazy belief in Lori Ann, the container of me had suddenly emptied of reactive emotions and the clutter of useless past-or-future-oriented thoughts. And yet, funny enough, the purse I’d been carrying around for two years, my leather Michael Kors with far too many compartments, was still in use. I wandered about town, a no-self with a handbag full of false ID.

One month after enlightenment struck, I dashed into a store to escape a downpour. There, I spotted a handbag with a luminous quality, a saintly disposition and the aura of a Miracle Purse. I bought it without hesitation, ditching the Michael Kors the same day.

Let me tell you about my new identity holder. It has only one interior compartment, the middle. Here I keep my sense of humor, along with Kleenex for the occasional tear or two. There’s two easy access outside compartments, one for my cell phone (God is always calling me up to chat) and the other for empty space. The cloth design is some kind of Navaho or Zuni print, which I’m certain is a secret code for nirvana, but until I decipher it my run-of-the-mill vast emptiness will do.

Here is what my new purse does not have room for: Me. Not one extra compartment for Lori Ann to tuck into. Nope. This is the Miracle Handbag. Did I mention it was half the price of the big old designer bag, with so many sections that I could never find a thing? Even my no-self got lost in that vortex.

So, here’s to Miracle Purses. They show up just to remind you of this truth: When you finally stop looking, what you are looking for finds you.

Awareness is here, (hand bag in hand!)

Lori Ann


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8 thoughts on “Enlightenment in A Handbag

  1. colleen

    So fascinating Lori, shortly before I entered Liberation Unleashed my purse strap literally broke and fell off of me, I could no longer use it. I became really interested in finding a new purse, ( i remember actually thinking to myself and wondering why do i care so much about a purse?!) one that was simple and really worked for me, not complicated and yet efficient and comfortable. I found it and soon after enter thru the gate of see thru this false identity of me. I am so happy i have a purse to match!xx colleen


  2. Brook Bartlett

    So funny! I have always been the one that doesn’t have a purse, or can’t find it if I do. For me, awakening has made it much easier to actually have and utilize a handbag for the first time (now glasses, keys, money, metrocard and ID are finally handy) Thinking back I realize that being a self was such torture for me that I tended to want to dump my identity any chance I got — not having to schlepp around that self anymore made me much for comfortable with the practical needs of the time space continuum and having a valid “ID”. Now it’s time for me to get my first ever driver’s license at 47 years old LOL :: )) Ps. LOVE your new bag!


  3. Marie

    Lori Ann, this is funny. I only purchase a new handbag on a whim. I have never stopped to think if those purchases coordinated with an “event”, but I seem to have followed a similar life path as you…as far as handbags go. Sometimes I have carried the same bag for 10 years…sometimes a new one every year or two. I have the old, huge “diaper bag” purse…the crazy expensive designer purse…and yes! the same cellphone holder/pocket criteria. I also like it to have a metal ring where I can clip my keyring. I have a brand new bag that fit all of my criteria that I have never used…it has been sitting on a shelf in my closet for the past year….(I had my “awakening” experience last March…hmmmm). My mom gives me a hard time about my purses (I”m almost 53 for Godsake…when’s she gonna give it up?) The last time she visited she took several chances to say something to the effect of, “Oh, you and your purses….they make me crazy” when I did something obnoxious like pick it up to head to the store. This past year has been tough with my mom…she is taking judgemental to a whole new level…and I am a bit perplexed. I always wondered what it was about my purses that pissed her off so much. Ahhhh…it holds my “identity”. Hmmmm…..thank you, thank you, thank you. And of course now I need to contemplate what that all means when seen in the mirror.


  4. Gaelle

    Great blog, many thanks Lori-Ann ! I loved the ability that consists in seeing the blessing in every day moments ! It’s crazy to see God acting through our handbag, our car or things like that. I had a funny experience lasts weeks through a car accident : I found myself better in the small car rent by the garage than I was in the big family car ! I realizaed that I wasn’t able to live the whole space around me, as if I was just a small thing in a corner of the universe. God’s path is really full of humor and tenderness. Thank you for enhancing what’s really happening with our personal “identity” bags. You know what? I used to forget my handbag when driving mon son every morning to the nurse. This morning where the accident took place, “something” whispered me to take my handbag with me…so I was able to use my cell phone after the accident…;-)


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