Saturday, July 9, 2011

Out With The Old (Preparing To Move)

2:54 a.m.

Doesn't it feel good to get rid of "stuff" that you seldom, if ever use? I've been doing just that for a couple of weeks now, mostly because I am moving out of my apartment after 7 years, and also because it's something that I've wanted to do for a long time anyways.

Documents, books, furniture, even a lot of photographs are finding their way to the back of my old apartment building where the garbage bins are located. My walls are increasingly bare.

I've wanted to de-clutter for a long time now, but perhaps I just wasn't ready before. For years I have admired people who live quietly and simply and thought "Wow, I'd like to do that!" But we get attached to our things. While I'm not saying that we all have to go live in a desert or move into a convent (I will be keeping my book collection as well as my Cary Grant/Julia Roberts movies), there's something to be said for simplicity. For one, I really think that the less clutter you have around you means the less cluttered your mind is.

I also think that one reason we can continue to collect "things" and surround ourselves with them is that we're trying to make ourselves happy and satisfied by the latest book, the latest piece of technology, better dishware. We can get caught up in the habit, even compulsion of purchasing and it seemingly never ends. One example of this that bothers me when I see it on the news is down in the States after Thanksgiving when stores open early and there are lineups down the street just so Bob can wait an hour to nab his flat-screen for half-price. I mean, bargains are a great thing, but there's something about the herd-like, materialistic look of it all that bothers me on Black Friday.

For some people, it takes a relatively short time span for them to realize that happiness comes from within and from the simple things. Then there's me, who seemed to have the head-knowledge that this was true a long time ago, but was just too scared to live it.

Because, if you're continuously buying "things," then you don't necessarily have to take a good look at yourself. And looking at yourself, drawing inward, is a very hard thing for many of us to do. We can be a hodge-podge of self-judgment, skepticism, distrust in ourselves so we'd rather just not do the work. It can be terribly hard, and can take a long time, but it's worth it. Because behind all that self-judgment and distrust lies a great truth. And for me that truth is that there is whole other, deeper level of beauty and wonderment that lies within each human heart. A big part of life, I believe, is realizing our oneness with everyone around us, but also each of us could and should spend an entire lifetime delving into just how magnificent, love-ly people we truly are.

If we spend even 10 minutes a day reflecting on this, taking joy in who we are as individuals, I think we'd see a lot of change. When we are more content, more accepting and even celebratory of who we truly are, we don't need to buy so many things or clutter our lives up in search of getting that latest rush. I know that I am happier than I've been in a long time as I subtract things from my life, rather than add them.

I will pound this drum over and over again and I won't stop. You are a wonderful person my friend, you really are. May this knowledge and experience be your real treasure today.


Mark Andrew