I’m currently dealing with the lifetimes accumulation of a late friend. More than a few times I have thought to myself, Goodness! how could you have/why on earth did you…save all of those…! Fill in the gap. And I have to be careful not to condemn him in my mind. What he left behind reflects his passions and I can bow to that.
And so it is when one’s belongings start to accumulate, it is all too easy to be bound up with self condemnation. Not a good state to be in when sorting since rushed decisions, driven by guilt, can lead to long term regrets. So it is important to have compassion for oneself and that which has gathered around you. Just as I endeavour, at the moment, to have compassion for my friend as I bundle up a mountain of maps!
When I arrived at Shasta Abbey in late 1980 with the intention of becoming a monk I had a backpack with me and a box of books arriving later by post. That was it! I’d imagined getting to this point of few belongings but this time I’d achieved it. Almost. I’d wanted to be able to carry all that I had, but I was close. On reflection I made some unwise decisions and would have done well to retain more than I did since lots of my belongings would have come in handy later. But storage is the ever present problem isn’t it.
Much is written about getting rid of stuff, about de-cluttering, about living simply with few possessions. Here’s a couple of articles by a woman in America who, with her husband, had to up-sticks and move. In the process she had to let go of, among other treasures, her dairy cow Daisy!
As I sit at my computer, the sun pouring though the windows and a gentle breeze wafting through WeeHavyn, I can’t help but reflect on the winding path that led me to simplify. The process was not always pleasant, but the freedom and richness it has brought to my life has been worth it. Of course this happened in several stages and the first one was sheer terror and resistance.
Hanging On – Steps to Simplify Part 1
Day by day our load lightened and I began to enjoy the process. I started cheerfully giving things away, much to the puzzlement of our friends. After all, shouldn’t I be sad that we couldn’t keep Aunt Ruth’s table? But I wasn’t sad, I was elated. You see, where I at first felt powerless in this whole process, I came to realize I could choose what I wanted to share my life with. What could be more powerful?
Letting Go – Steps to Simplify Part 2
In my early years we moved rather often. When packing my mother had a mantra, put like with like and when faced with items we no longer needed she would talk about resolving rather than get rid of those things. To this day I repeat her mantra and avoid thinking about getting rid of things. Early learning comes in handy later on.