I’m sure many of you have engaged in a Fall or Spring cleaning. That thorough cleansing of all that accumulated junk you’ve collected but never seem to have a use for. Or that you’re storing knowing, or at least thinking, that you’ll use that Stuff someday for something.
Well it’s time for a big purge at my residence.
But the purge I’m talking about is not just about physical Stuff, it’s about the mind.
Yep, our minds get cluttered too, especially as we become more and more a captive to the material world. In our culture, people are taught to measure their self-worth in terms of how much and what kind of Stuff they have.
That big mansion on the hill. The multitude of fancy cars in the drive. That boat and jet skis in the separate boat garage on the far side of the house.
In fact, when I was exploring the world of online dating, I was once told that the price of admission for dating a particular woman was having jet skis. For another it was a motorcycle. Another wanted me pay for her plastic surgery. Another wanted me to maintain her country club membership. And yet another insisted I had to earn at least $135K a year – to support her playtime.
It was all about the Stuff.
All material measures of who you are. Or at least who you might think you are. Or who others might think you are. The bigger and flashier the bundle of Stuff you lug around and display, the more attractive you are, the more dateable, right?
I don’t think so, but that’s just me. I like getting to know other people’s souls 😊
But excuse me, I’ve diverged a bit 😊
As many of you know from following my posts, I retired a while back. And then I started traveling a bit to knock some of those always-wanted-to-see-places off of my bucket list. But then another transformation or reversion began.
I liked being back in motion. I loved being back in motion.
I liked not being tied to any one location, having a new destination down the road to wake up to. And I liked only having to manage the minimal amount of Stuff I carried about in my car. Reality – once you get out and live for a bit of time longer than the average vacation away from your home (that home chocked full of Stuff) you start to realize just how little Stuff you actually Need to live. And live quite comfortably.
All that other Stuff is dead weight.
In fact, you’ve become a slave to it.
And no, it doesn’t define you as a human being and especially not as a spirit being.
Sure, there can be emotional ties to some of that Stuff. Some down right important sentimental value to things held onto and passed down through the family. But think. Think hard. Just how much of that Stuff really has enough importance and meaning for you to warrant hanging onto it for a lifetime, to pass down that accumulated Stuff when you die. Creating a burden of Stuff for your heirs that they have to lug around. To add to their already burgeoning pile of Stuff of their own.
So enough time has gone by now for me to figure out my monthly budget, and I’ve gained enough experience to know just what Stuff needs to be carried along for the journey. And for different types of journeys.
I’m learning more each day about where I can temporarily lay my head in places where the Stuff is not mine and enjoy those places so much more without the burden of keeping track of and maintaining a whole bunch of unnecessary Stuff.
In a way, it’s a return to those two years in my early twenties when I packed up the car and bummed around the country, only now, I actually have a steady check coming in instead of living meal to meal and gas tank to gas tank.
And I think the real freedom that is felt from this lifestyle comes from not just the motion, and not just from the new people and magical places we see along the way. The real freedom comes from unburdening your mind and spirit once you let all of that attachment to the physical material world go.
When you get rid of Stuff, you are not getting rid of parts of yourself. You are freeing parts of yourself.
None of this Stuff truly makes up or bolsters our ego identities like our society tries to convince us.
So, I’ve started the big purge. Going through absolutely everything I own and disposing of everything I don’t need. Sure, I will retain a few items that I’m not quite ready to let go of my attachment to, but I’ve found it gets easier and easier over time to lose more and more of those attachments.
And what better way to start than to go through old photographs. Those captured pictorial moments frozen in time that represent memories gone by.
Frankly, I surprised myself yesterday and I discarded fully two-thirds of those old pictures. Pictures that were redundant, that were bad shots, images that had faded into obscurity, that I couldn’t even remember the reason for having taken them.
They made a nice fire.
And they weren’t needed in anyway for me to retain memories of places, persons or events that were actually important to me. That Stuff did not serve as some kind of special documentation or proof of anything about my character, my personality, or my spirit. Or my life. Period.
I didn’t need them to prove anything to anybody. Particularly myself.
Today, I’ll continue. And with each piece of Stuff I eliminate, I feel lighter and lighter. Like a hot air balloon rising into the atmosphere as those sand bags are cut loose from the basket . . . losing the weight of ego attachments, gaining a higher perspective of life, feeling free to live again.
Photo: Those old pics made a nice little fire last night. Fire good 🙂