I’m in the middle of what I am calling the big purge. I’m letting go of physical stuff, but I’m also letting go of internal stuff—the stuff that other people’s expectations are made of. For example, did you know (I just read this in a psychology book) that your critical inner voice isn’t really you? It is the byproduct of what you have been taught by the people who taught you to be a certain way. That kind of blows my mind because it makes a lot of sense. We were conditioned to certain societal behaviors, parental expectations, and, in some cases, certain religions. But the real us is the pre-conditioned us in all its messy glory.
With this purging, I’m discovering that letting go of the physical stuff helps open up the space needed to deal with the internal stuff. The stuff we have accumulated is heavy, both physically and mentally. It clutters our homes and our minds. Did you know that the average household contains 300,000 items? Now, granted, that is counting each individual utensil, pen, etc. But that’s still a LOT of stuff. Do we really need all that?
As I prepare to move, I will still bring a lot of stuff (the house is comparable in size). I’ll probably let go of some pieces of furniture after the move, but it’s hard to know what will fit where until we start laying things out. But I don’t want to move things I definitely want to let go of. And I’m looking at everything with a critical eye. Do I use that? Do I think I’ll ever use that again?
In her book Sacred Actions, Living the Wheel of the Year through Earth-Centered Sustainable Practices, author Dana O’Driscoll says: “Rather than thinking about what you want to eliminate, think instead about what you want to keep—and the rest can go away.” That spoke straight to my soul. She has tons of other tips on how to facilitate this process. She also suggests giving away rather than throwing away, which I am trying to do with anything that still has life in it for someone else. (I also am selling a few things, but most are being given away—there is magic in giving.)
One example of this is my photography equipment. When doing a recent photo session for friends, I discovered that my iPhone takes clearer photos than my DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera. A newer camera would probably solve that, but I don’t want a newer DSLR. And, now that I don’t own Photoshop anymore—which I knew like the back of my hand—I don’t enjoy photo editing. So, my photography days are over, I’ve decided. I can do what I need to do with my phone. And I can create in other ways (I am bringing my knitting supplies, my downsized sewing supplies, my pastel supplies, and some scrapbooking-type supplies. I already let go of my other art materials.)
I’m still struggling with downsizing my herbs. I have a list of herbs I’m going to put in my next newsletter to see if there are any takers. But I’ve decided to take what I need and release the rest to the land before leaving. It seems appropriate for an “herb farm” to take back the herbs I gathered here.
Anyway, I want to acknowledge that purging is hard. But I’ve been inspired lately to take my ecological footprint down a notch to know that I tried my best within this society we’ve created to accumulate and generate less waste.
I’m really looking forward to the freed-up space less stuff will create in my life. It feels like I’m taking baby steps right now, but you know what they say: ”The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” That is a quote by Lao Tzu from the Tao Te Ching, by the way. There is a lot of wisdom in that little book. Highly recommended reading.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for considering your own ecological footprint, my earthy friends. I also highly recommend Dana’s book mentioned above for added inspiration of living with the land.