Giving Up

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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.

Name That Tune

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I am ridiculous.

 

In the past three days Larry and I  have gone through 5 suitcases full of CD’s – with a few cassettes – a TV cabinet stuffed with movies – some even on VHS – and started to dig into books. A little. We dropped off six boxes of media to Good Will, he set aside a box for a friend of various items and I have a rolly cart threatening to burst that I will take to work to share.

Still I sit among 300+ CD’s.

About a year and a half ago I left the PC world behind and returned to the magical world of Apple. I bought a MAC book Pro. I used MAC’s all throughout art school and in most of the creative jobs I’ve held, but when it came time to purchase my own laptop I went with the Toshiba that was a fraction of the cost. Then I was stuck in the PC loop. Finally I bit the bullet and returned to MAC. Home again.

But my music apparently went with the PC.

I had spent days, weeks, probably months uploading my CDs to iTunes on that first laptop. I thought after I was complete that I could probably just discard the CDs since everything was now in one magical place, you know, the cloud, but I held onto them anyway.

Glad I did.

In March of this year I had the brilliant idea to load nothing but yoga nidra’s onto my tiny little iPod and leave it behind for Larry while I traipsed across the globe. I’d set up the little Bose iPod player in the bedroom with the iPod docked and he’d be all set.

Except my music was gone. It was on my iPod, but gone from iTunes.

I looked online for answers. I did all the tricks recommended. Nothing. Finally I asked a friend if she’d had to deal with this issue. She had. When she switched from PC to MAC. The music she had uploaded stayed on her PC, she had to manually transfer it. My hard drive and old laptop were delivered to the dump, that wouldn’t be an option.

So. Now.

As I’m in the process of uploading and curating and creating playlists of these diverse shiny circles of music, the thought occurs to me… it took me over a year to notice my music was gone. Is it really worth the time to go back through and upload everything? Did I really miss it?

The answer is yes, mostly, I missed some. I missed my classical and jazz playlists and my crooners and blues ladies, but I am uploading almost everything. Or I had planned to.

I haven’t listened to Weezer in maybe three years. Trik Turner? What did they even sing? Is it a they or a he? Yet, there those CD’s sit. Waiting.

It’s about control. Perhaps.

I love that I can turn on the TV and search for something on cable, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix and I don’t need to house DVDs, but it still feels a little scary. And I still want some sort of structure with TV and usually I want not TV at all.

Music is different for me. I want to put on my computer what I want. I want to KNOW what’s on there. I want to CREATE playlists. I want to create STRUCTURE. Ultimately I want to CONTROL something and this seems like a safe place to do that.

Truthfully, if you were to come to my house, scoop up all my CDs up and take them with you, I’d adjust. But for a minute or two I’d search my mind wanting to know what you took. Ok, there were about 500 CD’s, what were they? I would probably actually start to make a list.

Then I would let go.

Then I would allow music to come to me. I would remember that it was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concertos that I loved. And anything by Mozart. And no one can set a mood like Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald. I would summon up Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and maybe even Weezer. I would immediately find Melody Gardot and Madelaine Peyroux and maybe even stumble across someone new I didn’t know I needed.

Instead I grip. I cling. I control.

And I learn.