Friday, December 03, 2004

"Silly question, silly answer."

I bought a new candle today. I didn't need one... I have tons of candles, incense, and other various good-smelling things around my room, but I really love candles so I bought another one anyway. I bought it because I liked the color (sort of creamish, off-white) and the scent was very clean smelling. So I brought it home and unwrapped it, lit the three wicks, and went to the garbage can to throw away the packaging. But something caught my eye, and so I read the label first. Here's what it says:

Sanctuary
Shanti. Shanti. Shanti. Peace. Peace. Peace. As you light this candle, let the calming woodsy scents of pine, sandalwood, and cedar fill the air, maybe you smell a hint of wildflower, pineapple, or bayberry. Hear the gentle chant in your mind as you light your Sanctuary. Go to the place where you are accepted. Is it deep inside your soul? With your Higher Power? With your family or companion? You are lovable-- just as you are. In Sanskrit, shanti means peace. So make every day sacred and safe as you create your own Sanctuary.

Pretty weird, huh? It kinda reminded me of that one Seinfeld episode where Elaine has to write that description for Pendant about those walking boots.... I don't really remember much about the episode, other than she is walking down the street composing in her head this completely absurd description of these boots being a spiritual experience for whoever wears them... regardless of my poor recollection, it was funny, and very much a stretch to describe a pair of boots... much like the above passage is a stretch to describe a clean-smelling candle.

The "Sancutary" bit was on the side of the candle box (Candlebox... remember that band??), and I continued to read the bottom, only to find this:

WARNING: Burn candle within sight. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Never burn on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep wax pool free of wick trimmings or any foreign material. STOP burning when 1/2" of unmelted wax remains on the bottom to avoid breakage. Keep wicks centered. DO NOT reuse glass container. For best results burn 3-4 hours and let cool. To reduce sooting, you must trim the wick to 1/4" each time the candle is to be relit. Avoid using in drafty areas.

Hmm. For a candle begging you to repeat a mantra of peace every time you light it, those sure are a lot of warnings and guidelines. I mean, what if "the place where you are accepted" is in a drafty area? How will you "create your own Sanctuary" if you can't bring your Sanctuary candle into the place where you are accepted because it is drafty?! Or, what if it takes you longer than 3-4 hours to realize that "you are lovable-- just as you are"?? You have to stop burning the candle after 3-4 hours... the warning says so.

In conclusion, friends, I hope that this lesson makes us each a little more aware of the contradictions we can so easily make and the trauma they can cause someone. If nothing else, though, I hope that you found it uplifting and educational to learn that "in Sanskrit, shanti means peace." If you ever run into a Sanskritian or visit Sanskritania, you can at least wish all the inhabitants a peaceful day.

4 comments:

Sean said...

You mean Elaine, no? Not Eileen right? Not that there's anything wrong with Eileen, but isn't the character's name Elaine Benes? Who cares right? So, you have a mustache? Peculiar. That may help you earn a whole lot of money someday on the Barnum and Bailey circuit if you play your cards right?

Nifty little Seinfeldian observation of the candle's contradiction. It's like when you need id to get id... but if you had id you wouldn't need id.

Becky said...

Hah, yep, you're right... it's definitely Elaine. Stupid typos will be the death of me, I swear.

Thanks for pointing that one out, Sean. :)

Frema said...

What Eileen typo? I only see Elaine written once. Fight it, fight it, Becky!

Also, I loved Candlebox's "Far Behind." It came out just I was entry my sullen teenager phase.

Becky said...

I fixed the Eileen/Elaine thing. (Guess I should have specified that.) Thanks for the vote of confidence, though!