I am in danger of letting it all go. Taking a giant energetic eraser and wiping my stuff slate clean. Instead of a POD, a dumpster. I’m going to put all the pretty breakable things I own on the kitchen counter and let Kitty Andersen have her way with them. I’m over it.
I am in danger of quitting. Holding on to what’s left, petting it, apologizing to it for casting out its friends. I’m itching to skulk around antique and thrift shops looking for something I didn’t know I needed then squeezing it in between other items without meaning.
I am in the process of purging.
Everything is energy and everything has energy – a bit of magic formed of memories and wishes. A rock collected from the Long Island Sound. Or was it the banks of the Ganges. Maybe someone gave it to me. A tiny Buddha living among others of its kind on an altar with things that, when held individually, seem to lose most of their meaning and charm. Where did he come from?
If I don’t know where they came from how can they have meaning?
It is this energy or connection I am becoming very sensitive to. It was most telling when I was moving my altar items to a box for safe keeping whilst I hurricaned about the place. I considered every piece of preciousness and of the 253,876 items, maybe 10 elicited a knowing smile. The rest more of an exasperated sigh at my ridiculous assignment of meaning to every rock and every feather I have ever found. (More on altars later.)
I am both burdened by this stuff and buoyed by it. It brings me joy and sometimes peace and it frustrates the hell out of me.
I can tell you that being able to take my time with my stuff has been mostly a positive experience and I’m grateful to be able to do this my way. It gives me great pleasure to hand over items that have meaning to me to others that can find new life for them. But I am doing this without attachment or condition. If I personally hand a book to someone it is always with the permission to “feel free to regift, recycle or do whatever you’d like with it.”
I am, of course, holding on to some very precious things, but I am trying to make those items the exception. And I’m even questioning those things.
Because Larry and I have a few antique spaces between us I am afforded the luxury of cycling some items through and possibly recouping my initial investment or even making an extra buck or two. An old radio flyer wagon, for instance, with peeling red paint that sits atop my (almost empty) TV cabinet. I like the addition of color and the stories of the children it must have held. One day I’ll tire of it and pass it along. Sell to someone who can make up their own narratives.
Currently my house is once again in turmoil, this seems to be the cycle. Pull everything out from its hiding place, paw through it, roll eyes, sort, toss, pile, purge. Then do it all over again. Until there are just no more hiding places. From my perch on the sofa I spy:
- 2 boxes of CDs waiting to be delivered to new homes
- 6 stacks of CDs yet to be sorted through (down from about a million)
- 3 stacks of magazines (one with paint color ideas, one to be given away to a friend and one yet to go through – a short stack)
- 1 looming stack of books to be priced and sold
- 3 stacks of books to go to the studio for adoption
- 4 empty boxes waiting to be filled for Good Will (at least 50 boxes have been transported so far)
But all these piles, while causing momentary shortness of breath and heart palpitations, can be moved into their proper places – outside my home – by end of day tomorrow and I can vacuum and dust and space clear and do a happy dance until the next time.
The goal again, for me, is to whittle all of my possessions down to just what I can see, just what I love or has beautiful inspirational meaning or what is useful. And not to restart the cycle of collection and purging. But it’s in stages and steps. (More on my process coming soon.)
For now, stuff is moving out, space is being revealed. The math is working.