Strings Attached

 

Stuff, I have written about my own before, but recent events have my the thoughts of uncluttering fresh in my mind. My parents are going to lose their house. As Dad and I prepare to leave for Colorado and mom settles into her temporary home with her mother, we have to get rid of all their stuff. We had to prepare everything for the auctioneers to take tomorrow. Now I’ve already been uncluttering my life, so when people ask if I am ready to go, I respond that it is easy to leave when you’re a nomad with no real material attachment. Throw some clothes, a few books, my bow and my gun and I’m ready to take off anytime. My parents, however, have had 30 plus years together to accumulate an impressive collection of junk. Only once you start to sort through things do you realize how much you actually have. Digging up more and more, that has been out of sight and mind. There is no longer a purpose for most of it, so why do we keep it? Why are we so resistant to get rid of it? Does this stuff define us in some manner? As I stare at a once collectible sewing machine of my great-grandmother’s, that was once valuable but has thus been somewhat destroyed (and therefore devalued) I have a new revelation. Does this sewing machine embody my great-grandmother? Is it her? It’s not being used, but merely taking up space. We put so much into our things: we want the chic and trendy clothes, the house and the car to show who we are. Living to one-up our fellow humans, to fit in. We have created a shell with of our stuff, letting it be who we are based on how we think we are supposed to be. Ask: if we take away the house and the flashy toys are different? When the bank takes my parents home is their love for each other going to change? Do we become someone us when these added on appendages are severed? Are our memories gone? Is this sewing machine representative of the person? When I go to my grandfather’s grave, is that him? Are we our things, our bodies? People of the past live inside of us, not in these old artifacts that we struggle to get rid of. Spirits that we carry around with us, materializing in the stored pictures and videos of our mind. So does loss of stuff mean a loss of self? I’d rather give it all away, than to lose myself, my thoughts, my passion, my love. These are things that enrich a life. I take with me an unfathomable appreciation and unwavering belief that everything in my life will work out (call me naive but it’s how I choose to live my life). I  don’t need to know how the game will play out, put focus one move at a time. All weeks I’ve been telling my parents something I learned in Dr Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts Change Your Life (which it literally did), that has helped me simplify. Imagine all these things being tied to a strings connecting to you. When you get rid of it, it is like cutting away the strings. You should then attack uncluttering with enthusiasm, think how much lighter you’ll feel when you’re not bogged down by all those things? Strings that you no longer have to tend to, making sure they don’t snap. I feel unbelievable, like floating once I cut the strings to unnecessary thoughts, objects and duties. Regrettably stuff can be a coping mechanism for some. Another form of numbing/avoiding our life and it’s challenges. How many time have I been with a friend doing ‘retail therapy’. Throwing away hundreds on clothes that will go out of style, shoes that hurt, more furniture and nick knacks, another purse, etc.There is nothing wrong with feeling pain or sadness, so that it doesn’t engulf your being. We must be cognoscente of the other feelings available and dormant within us. Don’t focus on the bad ones that desire the stuff to cope. Preserve balance so you are not cloaked and struggling under darkness’s grasps, bring the lighter feelings of appreciation and such to the surface. We use stuff to ‘heal’, to define ourselves. What we’re really doing is losing ourselves, our truest and highest versions of ourselves. Redefine your life, not one where you’re constantly chasing. Start by donating clothes that you haven’t worn in months. Question when was the last time I use this? When was the last time I wore this? When is the next time I’ll use/wear it? Same thing when shopping, do I need this? Hit the hiking trail not the mall. Here is a closing poem as that is my new love:

   You give but little when you give of your possessions.

   It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.

  For what are your possessions but things you keep and guard for

fear you may need them tomorrow?

   And tomorrow, what shall tomorrow bring to the overprudent dog

burying bones in the trackless sand as he follows the pilgrims to the

holy city?

   And what is fear of need but need itself?

  Is not dread of thirst when your well is full, thirst that is

unquenchable?

   There are those who give little of the much which they have- and

they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts

unwholesome.

   And there are those who have little and give it all.

   These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their

coffer is never empty.

   There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.

   And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do

they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue;

    They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space.

   Through the hands of such as these God speaks, and from behind

their eyes. He smiles upon the earth.

   It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked,

through understanding;

   And to the open-handed the search for one who shall receive is

joy greater than giving.

    And is there aught you would withhold?

   All you have shall some day be given;

   Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and

not your inheritors’.

   You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”

   The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks on your pasture.

   They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.

   Surely he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights is worthy

of all else from you.

   And he who has deserved to drink form the ocean of life deserves

to fill his cup from your little stream.

   And what desert greater shall there be than that which lies in the

courage and the confidence, any the charity, of receiving?

   And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil

their pride, that you may see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

    See first that you yourself dserve to be a giver, and an instrument

of giving.

   For in truth it is life that gives unto life- while you,who dream

yourself a giver, are but a witness.

   And you receivers- you are all receivers- assume no weight

of gratitude, lest you lay a yoke upon yourself and upon him who gives.

   Rather rise together with the giver on his gifts as on wings;

   For to be overmindful of your debt, is to doubt his generosity who

has the free-hearted earth of mother, and God for father.           -Kahlil Gibran

 

Merry uncluttering, lightness and soul-searching!

BE, Love, Illuminate,

Brittany

 

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