Letting Go and Lightening Up

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For years, I taught a workshop that included a guided imagery experience where participants, in their mind’s eye, emptied every room in their house and placed the contents of those rooms outside onto an ever-growing pile of belongings. I also had them visualize how big a nomad’s pile might be if he did the same thing.

Can you imagine creating that kind of a pile for yourself, i.e. removing every item from your living room, bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, dining room, basement, garage and every other room in your house and turning it into a mountain of belongings?  How big would your pile be?  Do the same process for a nomad. How does your pile compare to the nomad’s?

Next, I had the participants add all of the earth’s resources they believe they use in a year’s time to their piles, and asked them to “see” the nomad doing the same.

What would your pile look like if you added all the food you eat, the trash you discard, as well as all of the water, oil, natural gas, gasoline, wood and other resources you use in a year to your other belongings? See the nomad doing the same thing. How does your pile compare to the nomad’s?

Through that guided imagery, I hoped to give the workshop participants a sense of the “weight” belongings may add to their lives. I also wanted to give them a taste of the difference between wants and needs. Many attendees left that workshop with plans to organize a garage sale as soon as possible!

Does seeing your mountain of belongings give you a sense of being burdened or weighed down? How many of your belongings are wants and how many are needs? How many of your wants are very important to you?

I have lived in the same house in Seattle since 1973. You can imagine how much “stuff” I could have accumulated in 42 years. I have always valued experiences over material belongings though, so have used my financial resources to take trips to India rather than buying a lot of material possessions.

Even so, over the years my shelves, drawers, and closets filled.  Around eight years ago, I decided I was going to give away anything I hadn’t used in the last five years, unless I planned to use the item in the near future. One of the articles I gave away at that point was a loom I had purchased in 1974. I hadn’t used the loom since my children were born. For decades, I told myself I would start using it once my son and daughter grew up and left home. They both moved out in the 90’s and I still hadn’t use the loom, so in 2007, I added it to my “to go” pile. I did a major purging of stuff that year.

Several years later, I felt compelled to go through my belongings again. This time I wanted to create an empty shelf every place in the house where shelves were located. I loved the sense of relaxation and peace I felt when I gazed at those open spaces. The shelves stayed empty until I decided to take in a roommate; at that time the empty shelves were needed for the roommate’s possessions.

Last year, I again felt pulled to reduce my belongings. The desire was so strong I wondered if something was about to happen.  Was I going to be moving? Was I preparing for my impending death? (I have no terminal disease but fantasies can take any form!) I still don’t know the “why” but even as I write this post, my yearning to further decrease my possessions is stronger than ever.

Now I am giving away anything that I haven’t used in the last two years unless I have a strong desire to keep it.  Once again, I have become a regular at the Goodwill drop off station!

I am loving the sense of lightening-up I am experiencing as I continue to let go of personal belongings I no longer need or want!

Burning Down the House

One of the first things I saw this morning was the Word Press Daily Prompt entitled Burning Down the House.

The writing directions were:

Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

 

Five items instantly popped into my head.  I’ve continued to ponder that question throughout the day and my answer has not changed.  Even though I believe I could walk away from any of my belongings, these are the five that came to mind.

#1

20140918_154756New Laptop

*****

#2

355px-Samsung_Galaxy_S3_(GT-I9300)_16GB_Pebble_bluePhoto Credit: Wikimedia

Samsung Galaxy S3

I couldn’t take my own picture of this since my camera is on the phone!

*****

#3 and #4

Sreejit2

chai

Years ago I made each of my children an album containing pictures from throughout their life. They both live in India now and the albums would not fare well in the heat there so I am storing them at my house in Seattle.

*****

#5

20140628_083124Headband from my hippie days!

*****

Thanks for the “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers” Award!

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Yvonne at Seasoned Sistha2 recently chose me as one of her nominees for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers award.  I definitely consider Yvonne a blogging sister of mine and am glad to know that she sees me in the same way.

It has been interesting and fun to think of my other blogging sisters and to decide which ones I will share this award with!

 

Award Rules

  • Provide the link to the person who nominated you.
  • Add the reward logo.
  • Answer the questions your nominator has asked.
  • Nominate five other bloggers and let them know via comments.
  • Ask your nominees five questions.

 

My Answers to Yvonne’s questions:

1)  Who would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?

It makes the most sense to have a friend with me whom I enjoy being with, but one who also knows how to survive in the wilderness.  I would definitely want someone who knows what plants can be safely eaten. So Maheswari, I would like you to be on the deserted island with me!

2)  Would you rather travel by plane, train, or automobile?

I enjoy traveling by train the most, mainly because you can get up and move around as much as you want to. And I have had big adventures on trains! (e.g. The Day I Became a Train Hopper)

3)  If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?

This may seem really strange, but in this moment what I would like to do for that day is visit one of the Seattle recycling plants! I’ve wanted to do that for several years, so I better get busy and make it a reality.  (If  I knew this was going to be my LAST day, though, I would have a different answer!)

4)  For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I feel most grateful for my two incredible adult children and for having Amma as my spiritual teacher, guide, and mother.

5)  If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to?

I did change my first name! In 1991.  At that time, I asked Amma for a spiritual name and she named me Karuna, which means compassion. I treasure that name.

 

The Blogging Sisters I Chose as My Nominees:

Justine at Eclecticoddsnsods

Maria Brinkley at Maria Brinkley, artist

Arati at Dancing to the Words

Gerry at Open Hearted Musings

Nik’s Place

 

Five Questions to My Nominees:

1)  If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?

2)  Which of your belongings do you feel most attached to?

3)  For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

4)  What words of wisdom do you have for yourself?

5)  What words of wisdom do you have for others?