There is nothing quite like the feeling of holding your first set of car keys, or the keys to your new house. It's like having a power handed to you, as the result of earning the privilege to be more responsible. Those keys are significant for what they represent and for what they make possible.
There's also nothing quite like the feeling of realizing you have lost your keys.
Keys such as these represent a feeling of independence.
They can also provide a sense of safety, especially for latch-key kids. In a practical sense, young women were taught to hold their keys in between each finger, pointy ends out in a fist, as a makeshift protective weapon for whenever walking unaccompanied.
Even if we are not such women, keys make us feel safe because whatever door you can open, you can also lock from the inside.
Keys make a great metaphor, don't they?
If he holds the key to your heart, but he doesn't want you anymore, is your heart locked up forever? Or do you take your key back and unlock your heart so that it can be free?
If you've got the keys, does that also mean you've got the secret? Or does it mean you're burdened with a responsibility you would rather not bear?
I imagine ideas to be like keys. We need to realize just how much more powerful certain ideas can be than others.
Some ideas are like login and password information - once you are in, you're IN. You are part of a private world filled with its own richness of knowledge. Some virtual realms can actually entrap people, whereas others - the allegorical Narnia, for example - actually expand one's context well beyond its doors. What one perceives, then, as a mere coat closet could, for others, become a passage to a world that changes them forever.
Other ideas are like those big, old, rusty iron keys on an old, loaded-up key ring. The whole thing makes the key-holder's pants sag and makes his wrist hurt as he looks through the keys, unsure of which will open the door. Eventually we all get frustrated and we have to bust through the door! But it's too late - the bread in the oven has already burned to a crisp!
Some ideas have nothing to offer but broken doors, because some very important keys can get lost in the mix. Sometimes those heavy keys are people. If we choose to lighten up, sometimes we have to let some go in order to find the important ones when we need them.
When I was younger, I was busy collecting old, rusty iron keys on my inherited old, rusty keychain. But now that I am growing wiser, I have upgraded to key pads with access codes. I have decided that any doors worth opening, like the ones that reveal new worlds of possibility, do not require more than my mere touch to open.
Moving forward in life needs to be as stress-free as simply saying, 'this is who I AM'. We who stand in our power know our rights while also counting it a privilege to enter our own grandeur.
So, next time the feeling of relief washes over you to discover that you indeed have not lost your keys, ask yourself if it's the keys that matter, or if it's what they represent.
Is it the house with all of the things held within it? Or is it the people with whom you are making that house a home? Is it that particular vehicle, or is it the freedom of having wheels? Is it where you're going, or is it the one you are going with?
If it was just you and the naked jungle, what keys would really matter? The keys on a resources map would be of more help out there, I suppose.
You can't make sound on a piano without first pressing some keys. You can't make beautiful music on a piano without first knowing which keys to press and when.
Life is filled with keys, known as choices - which keys to press, which door to open, where to go today? We can choose to create symphonies or to cause catastrophes. Most of us will probably just go buy some groceries.