Apr 04 2017

Useful and Beautiful

Category: Choices,ControlPatricia @ 10:28 am

baggage.3

 

Spring cleaning. Life cleaning. We all have to do it. I make it a practice to sort through the drawers, closets and cupboards in my home; to let go of what is no longer needed.  Last year, I decided to look at everything with a common requirement. Everything I keep must be useful and/or beautiful. I’ve come to accept that what I deem to be beautiful may not be useful in a conventional way. However, my definition of useful has expanded. It’s my life, so I get to make the choices. (Same as you!) Art is useful for creating a pleasing environment; photographs serve as a memory aid and an emotional boost. The process is time consuming and sometimes emotionally draining but it’s necessary. We’ve all seen what can happen if we fail to do it… hoarding happens.

I know I’m not alone in this pursuit. I think many of us struggle with taking time to clean out the things that are no longer of value. It’s the reason why storage units were invented. It’s a relatively new concept of modern living for when people just have way too much stuff. They literally have outgrown their own homes. They have filled up every nook and cranny with stuff that they think they need. And now there is no more room for the stuff they do need. Rather than get rid of stuff, they move it to another space. And they pay rent on that space. Sometimes they never even return to get their stuff. It sits collecting dust, only to be sold at auction to pay for the cost of keeping it in storage. How do you experience the new, if the old is taking up space? How do you experience life’s present moment, if you are weighed down by the past? Christina Scalise, in her book, “Organize Your Life and More” says, “Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fueled by procrastination.”

Sometimes the old stuff is not even your own stuff. I have stuff from my mom and dad. They no longer have any use for worldly possessions. I hold on to the remnants. Yes, I’ve narrowed the remnants down to just a few boxes. But those boxes contain much more than just stuff. It is stuff that belonged to people I love. It’s different than ordinary stuff. Everything is like a limited edition.  Experts call it the “endowment effect”. An insignificant item may be endowed with an exaggerated value making it feel more important to you. Regardless of that effect, I will continue to apply my beautiful and useful rules so that I can let it go. Do you have that stuff in your life? Do you want to be responsible for other people’s stuff? Did your grown child leave behind stuff that is cluttering up your space? Is it taking up space you could use for your own stuff? When you hold on to other people’s stuff, you may have trouble setting boundaries or saying “no”. You are only responsible for your own stuff. Make it useful and beautiful.

Fung Shui experts agree that your living space is a reflection of your inner space…your subconscious mind. Your home is a container for your stuff. When you clear away the clutter in your living space, you can transform your entire existence. Personal transformation can occur when we let go of the things that no longer serve us. This can create balance and a place that nurtures serenity and inner peace. What you keep around you needs to change and grow, as you change and grow. Your home needs to reflect who you are…right now. When you discard the clutter, regard it as a sign of your progression in life. Acknowledge its purpose in your life. You may be surprised to note that many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. The dress made you feel fabulous at the party. The shoes have danced or hiked. The battered suitcase has taken you where you wanted to go. The chipped dishes have held many delicious meals. Be grateful for the experiences, process the past and let go. All that will remain are the things that you really treasure. Right now. Ownership of things does not bring happiness. Things help you to experience the journey. They remind you of the journey. They are not the journey. Life is not about having. Life is about being. May it be a useful and a beautiful life journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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