There’s things. So many things. Things and things and things and things. We collect things. We store things. We pay serious cash for THINGS. The things that hang on our walls. The things that decorate our things. People to clean our things. Move our things. Fix our things. We wear our things. Shine our things. And go broke over things.
We give a lot of power over for more things. Better things. Nicer things.
We think these things say something about us. They show our personality. Our status. Our coolness. Our fitness.
The things add up. They pile up. They stop being things that we enjoy, love, and give, but things that take and take and take. They take up space. They take up energy. And they’re just things.
T H I N G S.
Last month I began the intense process of getting rid of 75% of my things. For the sake of this conversation I’m just going to say all of my things, because well…damn that’s what it feels like. I never thought I’d be the one to sell and give off almost every single thing I own, but well, I also never thought I’d be traveling around the world for a year, rarely missing the things I thought I needed so much.
From SF to New Zealand to Bali to Chicago to Dallas to NYC and manyyyyy cities in between, I didn’t miss the things that I had packed up the year prior and jammed into boxes that I then paid someone else to jam into storage. Ok, I missed my cowboy boots ONCE and wished I had my trigger point roller TWICE and definitely wished I’d had access to my violin maybe five times. But that was it.
The anthropologie dress I had pined over and finally splurged on – didn’t miss her. The hightop sneaks I trumped around town to find – didn’t miss. The overflow of lululemon – never noticed. The ipad I had pooled my fresh outta college dough to buy – unphased. SO MANY THINGS. Boxes and boxes and carloads of things. Couldn’t have cared less while I didn’t have them.
So, I armored up, decided up, and marched in to get rid of all of it. Because obviously I didn’t need it – I had gone almost a year without any of it. It was time. (A few peptalks and lots of deep breaths and one big decision later. It was time). There’d be a box of keepsakes, a box of brand new bedding, a box of winter clothes, an extra suitcase, my violin, and a painting that I’d keep. The rest was outta here. As I stood scissors in hand, dirt all over my legs, sweating, and frustrated, I began to feel the energy of my crap. And the ridiculousness of my consumption. I didn’t know whether to cry, throw up, freak out, or all of it. Instead…I breathed. Big, labored, W T F breaths.
Many many many hours, car loads, movers, a (life-saving) brother and time to recuperate from the greatest purge of my life later I realized a few things oh so clearly:
When you stare at all those clothes. When you look at the candles. The stuff. The pens. The had to haves. And you listen to what you feel – about 90% of the time it’s heaviness. It’s burden of I don’t want it… but I do. This will make me so (fill in the blank). Things are ripe with the energy of comparison you felt at the time. A void you were filling. A compulsion you were following. And when you revisit them, that energy stays there. And it’s the energy to purge. You’ll feel it.
In a storage unit of things. A decade of buying. Only a few things brought a huge smile to my face – the picture of my family from 20 years ago in front of Disney World. The Mont Blanc pen my parents gave me. The instrument I fought to quit and now long to get my hands on. They fill me with joy.
I can’t say the same thing about the container of scarves and sweaters I handed over without blinking to the kind man at goodwill.
Purge your things to purge the heavy energy of your soul.
Keep what brings you lightness. Keep what brings you joy. And let go of your obsession with things. You don’t need them. Trust me… You do not need them.
The living with so little so easily has showed me just how much we do not need. I never set out to own so little. It found me. And in the finding came freedom – freedom from thinking things will fix or fill anything I’m feeling. Freedom from the physical clutter that clutters my spiritual space. Freedom from shlepping, storing, and deciding.
Purge for freedom. Purge for bliss. Purge for the space to let beauty back in – the beauty of experience, love and presence. The non-thing things.