15 Wed, 2010 § 3 Comments
I am completely fed up with American-style consumerism. I am tired of constantly being assaulted within our “built environment” by the visual noise of clever marketers. I recognize meaning cannot be bought [yes we can purchase things that make life nice, but not more meaningful]. I pledged years ago to rid myself of one item for every new item I brought home.
Yet, I have still accumulated a lot of stuff.
With the desire to live much more simply & make a pretty drastic life change, Dave & I had been toying with the idea of massively downsizing & seriously purging much of our stuff. Nudged by the 100 Thing Challenge, we dove in, joining this worldwide grass-roots movement in which people are limiting their material possessions. People who were once ‘stuck in stuff’ are empowered to live.
The purpose of Life is to provide Experience. How restricted is our experience if it is overshadowed by all the “stuff” we accumulate? If it is blurred by the mask of “things” that lay claim to our identities? If it is stalled by fear of losing our “possessions”?
I am realizing how simply I can live.
Now, I am trying to shed material effects to free up space for this living.
As I sift through belongings, prioritizing everyday life is an obvious breakthrough.
“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives. ”
~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
What is consuming my time, energy & focus versus what truly brings me happiness through experience? What may be required to continue pursing these? There are some things to which I am utterly attached.
There are enjoyments & passions that enhance the experience of living. Our “purge” is not about getting rid of it all. It is about breaking free from restrictive consumerism habits, embracing non-attachment & creating space in our lives.
Some things fall easily to the bottom of the list: I can survive without an iPod [not that I am ready to give this up ;)], high heels, lip gloss, crazy kitchen gadgets, etc.; but what about the really meaningful things? How do you throw out keepsakes or flowers from your wedding?
Often, letting go is addictively refreshing: Dave comes back exhilarated after a trip to the dumpster/recycling bin. Other times, it is trying & heart-wrenching — maybe even guilt accompanied — to let go of an item associated with a cherished moment…though you will never use it again…though you often forget it is there. I will set these aside to return to later when I can focus completely on the item & why the attachment exists.
I know I will never use these books again; but every time I see them, I think how sweet my mom is. I remember a visit from her [which always stand out], when she spontaneously bought them for me from the college bookstore. She thought they would help with my writing; she always believed in my writing. It is about her visit, not so much the books.
In these instances, I have turned to a “Memory Journal”, meant for recounting & re-experiencing moments that made items special.
The sage can walk away from his burning possessions & not look back.
~an interpretation from the Tao Te Ching
Not only would we like to reach a state of non-attachment where we do not look back; but, our goal is to not have much to tempt a backward glance.
Minimize. Prioritize. Simplify.
My dream is to become mobile: to be able to pick up & go at will. I often muse of living in a trailer & traveling without hindrance. Yes, 😉 I aspire to becoming “trailer trash” — a gypsy — embracing ultimate simplicity.
Liberated, with only experience driving us forward.
Do you ever feel “stuck in your stuff“?