Tuesday, July 30, 2013

a secret about your things

I loved this passage from the book Clutter Busting by Brooks Palmer, so I thought I would share.  He titled this section "The Secret".
Things will not make me happy.  Repeat this phrase many times.
We try to give our lives significance by filling them up with things.  But it just doesn't work.  You never feel there is enough.  By discarding things that are important to other people but not to you, you start to live more spontaneously, and your natural joy comes through.  Now is the time to be self-reliant.  Now is the time to let go.
Hanging on to things is a way to avoid change.  Change is inherent in every cell of your body.  It occurs every second of your life.  Nothing stands still.  You can pretend change is not happening by distracting yourself with things that don't matter.  But that doesn't suit you.  You've been anesthetizing yourself with things to create a false sense of stability; meanwhile, change is going on inside and around you all the time.  
When you begin to let go of the old useless artifacts of your past, you accept change, and you discover a profound peace of mind because you are going with the flow of life.  There's momentum and power in that.  That feeling of personal mightiness replaces the need to acquire things.  Many of us own things to suppress feelings that we find difficult to face.  But you cannot permanently suppress them.  Now is the time to let those things go.  The world misses you while you're in hiding.  Come out.  It is safe. 
Do these words resonate with you?  I have been working on looking critically at my belongings and hanging on to only those things I find beautiful or useful (see my posts on my recent Purge Project).  I had no idea the extent to which my "old useless artifacts" were holding me to my past.  The wedding dress I wore nearly a decade ago has been following me around for years, reminding me of a marriage that failed.  Many of the decorative items in my home came from a different decorating taste and period in my life, and I am loving the empty space I've created by letting some of them go.  It's amazing how a white wall is so much more inspiring than a painting I didn't love, and a clear tabletop is so much more attractive than one covered with knick-knacks I would never choose.  We may not acknowledge it often, but the stuff we surround ourselves with has a profound impact on the feelings we experience in that space, and clearing the clutter provides wide open spaces for new possibilities.

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