I started this blog post a week ago. It has morphed a few times and I’ve hesitated to send it out, wondering to myself, “what does packing and sorting out books and papers have to do with healing and rebuilding?” This morning it came to me. When you are not feeling well, stuff can be a big problem. When your mental capacity is reduced because your body is on the fritz, the more stuff you have to think about and work around the harder it is to do anything. The less you have to deal with just to get through the day, the better.
Furthermore, periodically weeding out the stuff in your life gives you an opportunity to revisit ideas and projects and people and memories that you may be carrying into present time, but are no longer relevant, or simply need to be let go. Prompting my current motivation to sort through my things is a pending move from Northern Virginia to Annapolis, Maryland.
When I was younger I moved about as often as I changed jobs. I used to say, as a joke (ha ha), that I moved every year because it was the best way to clean out my stuff and my house. I’m older now and I have more stuff. I’m kind of tired of moving but as our kids – 3 boys between my husband and me – started moving out, we noticed an urge to explore living in other places. Once again, moving is part of my life. Time to lighten the load.
To help me choose what to move and what to discard, I decided to experiment with connecting to my inner guidance as a way to decide about packing something, or not. I wanted to leave my mind out of it and disallow it the opportunity to offer any thoughts about whether I should, or should not, keep something. Here’s how it goes.
- I pick up a book (or whatever item I put in my hands) and ask, “Do I want this?”
- I tune into the immediate response, which is only yes, no or maybe. Usually it’s yes or no, with very few maybes. If it’s a maybe, I put it aside and ask again a little later.
- Whichever the response, that’s the decision. I don’t argue with it. I don’t wonder why. I don’t contemplate some time in the future when I’ll wish I had it.
Results, so far…
I am feeling lighter already. I am moving only 2 boxes worth of books, one fiction box and one non-fiction box. I was most surprised when I realized that I am taking less than half the business books I own, and really surprised when my historically favorite books by 2 favorite fiction authors did not make it to the “take it” boxes. I have been collecting books by one of these authors for over 20 years.
I found a place online (www.ckybooks.com) through which I could sell about 20 of my unwanted books and will make a little money as well. The rest will be donated to the County library.
I am really curious to see what happens when I use this same method on my clothing. That should be fun.
This feels like a situation where less is most certainly more. Perhaps it IS an age thing, or maybe it’s a sign of greater comfort in myself, or both. I watch with interest as I more easily let go of things that have meant so much to me for many years.
If everything in our lives holds weight or energy, then healing would seem to include periodic cleansing of “stuff.”