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Drowning before even leaving land?

Posted in: Breaking Free on Monday, September 26th, 2011

The house is a mess. Our lives are a mess.  Every time I touch something it seems to multiply.  There suddenly seems so much more to sort.  So much more to decide upon.  To say I feel like i’m ‘treading water’ would be an understatement.  It feels more like struggling in quicksand, the more you struggle, or in my case clean and sort, the further down you invariably sink.  I’ve plumbed the depths of over a decade of two accumulated lives (well still in the process), there seems no end to the junk I’ve stored for some reason or another over the years.

I move it here. I move it there.  I don’t think i’ll feel happy until it finally moves elsewhere.  The garage sale is not far off and in my overwhelmed moments I worry I’ve made it too soon.  But i can’t give those thoughts reign for too long,. They’re immobilising and unproductive.  I just keep ploughing on and telling myself that every little bit gets me closer and if i just keep going all will be well.  Whether that be hopeless optimism or delusion, who can say.

Lists (and Ben) are the only thing close to keeping me sane and on track.  Ben has suggested I make lists purely for the enjoyment of crossing items off.  And he is right (there you go darling, in print for the world to see ) He prefers listing large tasks where i favour listing the minute and numerous.  I don’t deny I enjoy the feeling of crossing items off my list. But it’s more than that.  Making a list and crossing items off it helps keep my mind sorted. Helps me feel like i’m progressing through the mire of all that is to be done.  So I make my lists and a path through the mire becomes clearer.

I cross items off my list and as is the nature of things there is always more to add.  A list is a fluid thing. It grows and changes and never really shrinks.  It is a map of past and future intentions, sometimes reminding me of all that i didn’t get done.  But that is okay.  It is still on the list for tomorrow.

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Where to start?

Posted in: Breaking Free on Thursday, September 15th, 2011
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Where do you start when confronted with the task of packing up almost a decade of accumulated possessions? Most people would say “at the beginning” and I can’t argue with that logic. The problem with tasks this big is that the beginning is an often indeterminable point. I know where the end is, I can see it, it’s just that there’s so much to do between this point and the finish that it’s easy to be overwhelmed to the point of crippling inactivity.

I try to make lists, I’ve started with the second bedroom, which for years has been the dumping ground for all those things collected that don’t have a home of their own. So they end up in the second bedroom to pile up on top of each other and be forgotten. Until today. Today I must decide the fate of each item in that room. For a person who finds decision making mentally draining, the prospect is off-putting to say the least. Traumatic if I wanted to err on the side of the dramatic.

I need boxes, space to put piles of sorted items `Rehome’, `Dump’, `Garage Sale’. I’m finding it hard to part with things, which is silly. Silly when you think that I haven’t thought about these items for years, haven’t touched or moved them, and yet the sudden sight of them again overwhelms me with memories. They begin to take on the importance of relics, relics from my past, tangible links to memories that feel a little more distant each year. They become hard to part with. I’ve had to allow myself to keep some of my most precious items, only the most significant of treasures, so that I may be able to part with the majority of them. I must save some so that I can sacrifice the rest.

The very nature of the process forces you to question and really evaluate the importance we place on material goods. And why we need to accumulate them and why parting with them is so hard. Our lives and flesh are fleeting things, why do we spend so much time chasing things, working to buy more things or working  just to afford the things we already have? I’m starting to see how the possession of things, the weight of our worldly goods, hold us down, prevent us from truly living in the moment.

People can’t be carried with the winds of spontaneity, they can’t zig when the world expects them to zag, can’t live free to the impulse of adventure when they’re surrounded by four walls. Four walls that need a constant stream of money to maintain and to keep ownership in your name. Four walls that need to insured and cared for in your absence. Four walls that will keep you rooted within them for as long as they stand.

But four walls don’t bring all bad, they provide shelter, security and the continuity of home in an ever changing world. Those aren’t bad things, nor is it bad to want them. I’m just not sure it’s how we were meant to live. There has to be other ways to have those things and be more in tune with the world and it’s beauty. There has to be a way to be secure and safe while not losing the ability to roam free, to head for the horizon just to see what lies beyond it. There has to be a way to experience the richness and beauty of life without being tied to a job, a house and all the commitments that go with it.

We think there is. It’s why we’re now parting with 10yrs worth of collected possessions and the four walls that keep them. Leaving them behind for a life less rich in material wealth and more abundant in the pleasures that give meaning to life. A more authentic existence. One open to risk, challenges, spiritual and personal growth. The full gamut of what life has to throw at us.

It’s not an easy process divesting yourself of all that you own, but it’s a life changing one. One that everyone should go through once, and more importantly of their own volition. This is a distinctly different process than losing all that you own through tragedy or misfortune. This in an empowering process driven by choice with you at the helm. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose all that you own without control or choice. I may have to though, depending on how high the waves roll.

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