The threat of COVID-19 and the recent fires and floods have reinforced upon me that life is simple, or it ought to be. Our daily fears of losing material things, reputation, status, and popularity pale into insignificance, compared to these life threatening events.
As news of the impact of the virus continues to headline the media, I imagine most of us are concerned about personal safety and that of our loved ones. Notwithstanding some crazy or opportunistic behaviours, I suspect most are motivated by love for our dear ones and thus, fear should anything happens to them. This triggers bizarre behaviours, I am sure you can point to a few. And it doesn’t take away from this simple fact – our loved ones and survival are what matters. Survival, with no frills. Like everyone else, at the forefront of my thoughts are to keep my family safe and getting on with an adapted lifestyle.
“Keep only those things that speak to your heart.” ~ Marie Kondo
Similarly when the great fires posed a threat to my home a few months ago, I was able to move certain possessions into storage. I had effectively gone through my possessions and asked myself what I wanted to keep, and what purpose it served.
What did I treasure? Art and memories. There were framed photographs which I wouldn’t be able to recover digitally (yes, I am old enough to have those in my possession!), framed prints and paintings I had accumulated over the years during my travels, and knick-knacks, mostly crafted by my now young-adults, and official documents. Surprisingly there weren’t many boxes I had to relocate. The rest of my possessions in my home I was prepared to lose. The stored possessions represent love and beauty, they hold the memories of a shared past.
So if I was prepared to lose most of my possessions, what am I still doing with them? A question I have been pondering lately. What of the sets of entertaining platters, the chairs I was going to reupholster, the extra pieces of serving ware and cutlery, the cushions of varied shapes and sizes and their covers in the event I wish to “change it up”…?
The reality is, I do not entertain in that fashion to warrant “hoarding” those things. They are remnants of a past life. My people now, like me, do not care if my plates match or not, they are with me for the company we keep; they value our conversations more than the 5-course meal with matching wines I could have served up. After all, the bond of true relationships lies in its essence – love. Simple.
“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.” ~ Marie Kondo
The unnecessary items, the “just in case” items, the I-wanted-them-so-I-can’t-discard-now items, what do they represent? What purpose do they serve now? What does it mean to let go of them?
From when I did not know its name, I have been letting go of things and minimising the clutter, the stuff I have in my environment. While my space is no longer cluttered, I still possess many things – most are not things that I need, and many are things I no longer want.
“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” ~ Marie Kondo
When we have fewer things, we have fewer things to worry over or waste time on (like dusting!). We reclaim time to pay attention to what really matters, and perhaps do our best in those special spaces.
So when you stumble upon (literally?) things in your home, it is worthwhile asking,
- What do I truly love?
- What will I keep?
- Does it spark joy for me?
- Does it serve a present purpose in my life?
- Am I a better person with them in my life?
And then let go of things of the past with a sense of gratitude -to them for achieving their purpose in your life, and for their contribution to who we are.
Not entirely tongue in cheek, you can probably apply these questions to people too.
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