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Tag: letting go

KEEP WHAT YOU LOVE

KEEP WHAT YOU LOVE

It’s the new “thing” — Letting Go.  Everybody who’s anybody keeps telling you that the only way to move forward is to let go of all that baggage you’re lugging around.   “The Simple Life,” hey, ho!  Minimalism rules.

They tell you, “Gee whiz, guys and girls…you’ve got a wagon train following along behind you with all the accumulated baggage of a lifetime and you’re pulling that thing around with you.  No wonder you’re so tired all the time.”

For the most part, that is probably a truth, you know.  People who have little day-packs can scoot along hiking trails a heck of a lot easier than the guys lugging around those huge mountain backpacks that tower over their heads.

backpacker
Backpacker by dontdothisathome via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

MAKING A START

You figure that you probably do have to let go of at least some of that stuff.  As you’ve probably found already, if you’re a natural-born hoarder who tends to leave claw marks all over stuff you’re forced to release, even letting go of just one little thing might be really tough.

It’s likely that you’ll start remembering the back-story behind every itty-bitty thing or else you’ll recall the dreams you had for this thing or that.  Getting to The Simple Life could very well become an exploration and excavation into your life-story.

You may keep getting sidetracked by all those stories and perhaps you’ll never get to the part where you let go of anything.

GETTING CARRIED AWAY

So, finally, after much browbeating there you are, winnowing your way through your stuff and starting to feel good about making all that progress.  The space around you is starting to clear up and it really does feel good.

It’s a good thing to remember that some of the more enthusiastic of our wanna-be advisors ignore the truth that you do have to be careful when you start tossing stuff.   If you make it past the first little throw away and then start getting into the swing of it all, it’s relatively easy to tip into deep toss-mode.

Then it’s possible that anything or maybe even everything can go out the window.  There you are, at the height of minimalistic euphoria….

“Tossing out the bath water…heave, ho, hup!..OOPS!  There went the baby!”

Easy, there.  Take a breather.  You do not have to clear everything out all at once.

 QUESTIONING YOUR WAY TO CLEAR

Here’s a three-part exercise that might help if you really are not making any headway at all.

Choose a target area that you want to clear. It doesn’t have to be a large area. It could be a small corner of a room.  It could be a kitchen drawer.

Part One is to pick up each object in your designated area and ask yourself these three essential questions:

  • Do I need this? (Be brutally honest here.  Do you really need twelve can openers?  Do you need that tacky-   looking tattered potholder?)
  • Is this useful? (Does it work?  Have you used it at all in the past six months?)
  • Do I still have a strong connection with it? (Do I love it? Is it uplifting eye-candy? Or is it some guilt-holding like that uber-tacky hand-me-down vase from your beloved old Aunt Martha, the one that leaked all over the dining room table the one time you used it.)

Depending on your answers to these essential questions, you can stick the thing into one of three piles – the YES pile (for the stuff you’re keeping), the NO pile (for the stuff you’re tossing) and the MAYBE pile.  If you’re a real pack-rat the MAYBE pile is going to be the biggest one of all.

Part Two of this exercise is to disappear the MAYBE pile.  Ask yourself the questions again for each of the objects in the maybe pile.  Keep asking until there are only two piles – YES or NO.  The goal is to end up with only YES things in your life.

Part Three is to find places to put the YES stuff on display or in some easy-to-reach place.  Understand that YES stuff that are packed in boxes stuck on high shelves are actually MAYBE or NO things in disguise.

Then, pack up the NO stuff and — this is the important parttake the NO stuff far, far away before the sun sets on your head.

If you are a natural-born hoarder, keeping the NO stuff for the Someday Garage Sale is just an invitation to collect more stuff.  Do not do it!

Renting out storage space for the NO stuff is cheating.  It is also very expensive.

Understand that these drastic measures are just a kick-starter.  Once you get the hang of disappearing things, you won’t need to be quite so deliberate about it.

Once you’ve gotten one space cleared, it does get easier to tackle another little bit and then another until the only things left in your life are the YES stuff.

(Maybe you haven’t noticed this, but these same questions work whether you’re looking at a thing, a person, or some situation that is bothering you.)

PUTTING FIRST THINGS FIRST

Victoria Moran, in her book LIT FROM WITHIN: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty, points out, “A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar. ”

This is another good reason for understanding the why of the things you keep.

This YouTube video of a TedXIndianapolis Talk by screenwriter and blogger Maura Malloy, “The Masterpiece of a Simple Life,” points to a balanced way to get back to simple without losing what you love.

Here’s a poem:


CHANGE

Change is going to happen…

That’s guaranteed.

With me or without me,

Change is going to happen.

 

And it’s a very funny thing:

I can affect change

One, two, three…

And it’s a very funny thing.

 

When I put my energy there

Towards nurturing the good

Then the good will grow,

When I put my energy there.

 

When I put my energy there

Towards nurturing the beauty,

Then beauty will surround me,

When I put my energy there.

 

If I grow lax, letting things fall apart,

Get all lazy, losing heart,

That’s where the change goes

If I grow lax, letting things fall apart.

 

If I lose my way, if I grow weak,

Forget my path and forget to speak,

That’s where the change goes

If I lose my way, if I grow weak.

 

Change can’t be forced, oh, no, no, no…

You can’t push the river,

It just keeps it flow

Change can’t be forced, oh, no, no, no.

 

Going where it will, where it must,

Change still needs space and trust.

Time is the essence, a vehicle,

Going where it will, where it must.

by Netta Kanoho

Header Picture credit:  Clutter by staci myers via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

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DEALING WITH CHANGE

DEALING WITH CHANGE

The wise guys tell us that most of the phenomena in the world are the results of consensus and moving energy.  They are part of the larger dance that includes everything and everybody.  How you see it is filtered through your own memories and the patterns of behavior built up by past experiences.

But then, one day you look up and notice that the world-as-you-know-it has changed so much you don’t recognize anything any more.  What do you do then?

AS THE WORLD TURNS

Many wise guys say  that most of the world’s phenomena often have little noticeable impact  on you except as they accumulate all together.  It’s like the long-term effects of accretion and erosion — Earth-energy things.  It’s a slow-flowing liquid movement, like the movement of glass, for instance, or a glacier, and you are just one particle in all of this.

margerie-glacier
Margerie Glacier by Kimberly Vardeman via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
For decades it all goes along in a way that is understandable and part of a continuum that you are able to embrace because it just is a continuance of what has gone before.  And then comes the landslide, the calving iceburg, the new discovery, the game-changing world event…and everything is different and you’re there scratching your head.  Huh?

DOING THE ANT

Some people say your view of the whole thing is like that of an ant lugging along a bit of a bread crumb with his buddies.  You, the ant, are doing your thing.  And the whole rest of it goes on around you.  You and the guys get the crumb home.  There’s a party.  Whoop-de-doo!  Life goes on.

Then one day some bozo drops poisoned ant bait on the counter and you and the guys lug it on home and it all changes.  Oy!

LETTING GO

The best way to navigate in a world of change, according to the wise guys, is to try releasing old stuff — letting go of being an ant locked into ant-ness.  If you can do that, then you can stay in touch with the world all around you.  You have a better understanding about what is going on and you can respond better as a result.

In the following YouTube video, “Letting Go of the Old World,” the author of the book THE TURNING POINT: Creating Resilience in a Time of Extremes, Gregg Braden, tells a story about people in a town who are stuck because they are waiting for things to return to their old “normal.”

Braden says the old normal is not going to be coming back.  His suggestion for avoiding being overcome by the extreme changes in this post-modern world is the same as the ancient wise guys:  Let Go.

What Braden suggests is another way of Un-Seeing and , for real, it is very hard to do.

FINAL THOUGHT

I do like Braden’s suggestion about properly mourning the world that is gone and then turning around to face the future again.  Somehow, that seems likely to make it a little bit easier, maybe.

Here’s a poem….


NEW PROJECT

Okay, new project:

Letting go of all the dreams already blown away on

The whirling blusters that blast through my days,

Unheeding of the time and care I lavished on the silly things.

 

It’s not like they’re anywhere close by, those dreams.

They’re probably in Kansas by now.

They really were cool.

Everything just so….

The perfect this,

The stellar that.

 

Oh, dear…

Oh, my…

Oh, me….

 

Wise guys say it should not matter,

That the dreams are all illusion anyhow,

But what do THEY know?

All THEY ever want to look at is the Big Empty –

The same one that’s sucked up

Every one of those rainbow-colored ice cream sherbet dreams

That probably would have melted into sticky goopy puddles anyhow.

 

I wonder what those wise guys see in that Empty place….

And, don’t go telling me about the Empty that’s Full

‘Cause right now I am THIS close to bopping you!

 

It does make me wonder…

How come those dreams flew off and I didn’t?

Why am I still standing in this poppy field?

Who knows?

 

I wonder where they went, those dreams.

I hope it’s a nice place.

They really were some good little dreams….

by Netta Kanoho

Picture credit:  Ants Carry Off Some Bread by Tom Houslay via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

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