Before finding my spirituality, I could not understand the connection between spirituality and minimalism. I am not even sure I understand it still, but I have to acknowledge some connection.
I have too much stuff. As my 17 year old son and his girlfriend embark on adulthood in a different state (I am moving, they have chosen to stay), I found myself saying to them, “When I left for basic training at your age, I had nothing but the backpack I was carrying and I was only permitted to bring clothes and toiletries. Everything I have here, this entire four-bedroom home, I worked for.” As I said this, I was packing my house for a move to Hawaii from California. Having worked for the government my entire adult life, I have moved many times over the past 25 years or so. Packing and moving and unpacking are such an incredible hassle. While I have always been somewhat nomadic in that I find moving to a new city and adventure and a chance to start fresh, the actual physical act of moving sucks! I hate packing! I hate wrapping all the trinkets, I hate all the box-cuts on my fingers. I hate when the tape gets stuck to the tape gun or worse, sticks to itself, and I have to find the end again. With all this moving, you would think I would have less stuff, it would make me more mobile. The truth is, I have entirely too much stuff!
I have books, lots and lots and lots of books. I have boxes of books, shelves of books, drawers of books, books on tape and a kindle. While I love the idea of electronic books, I still love the feel of a good paperback book in my hand. I like the feel of it, the smell of it. I like writing notes in my books, hi-lighting, underlining, dog-earing my books. You may wonder if I have read all of these books and rightly so, my son’s girlfriend asked as much one day, as she answered the door for another amazon delivery. YES! I read my books. Most of my books are remnants of some hobby I once had or still have, but I just cant bare to part with my books. I read them, I mark them, I write in them. I know I can read electronically, but I love my books, it is just not the same.
Speaking of loving the paper in my hands, I am also a scrap-booker. I love paper and pens and pretty stickers. I love pretty scrapbooks, and no, I cannot do digital scrapbooking, its just not the same. I have an entire room in my house filled with nothing more than bookshelves and books, scrapbook papers, photos, stickers and various scrapbook accouterments. This room is tedious to pack!
As I survey the contents of my packed house, I realize that I am changing. Somewhere between finding my spirituality in the past few months, and packing my home this past week, I have found a desire to have less stuff. Granted, part of this can be attributed to giving the kids some things to get started with in their apartment and some to the fact that I am moving overseas, but, the truth is, I am learning to let stuff go.
For me, there is something to be said for the fact that I am handing over most of my furnishings and half of my dishes to the kids. Simply because I love my stuff, it is amazing that I am giving up so much. But, I do it with love, I am happily giving them my things. I don’t want all of this stuff anymore. Sure, I still need couches and a dining room table, but, I have the resources to get what I need. I have no problem passing along my furniture to the kids. But, I have been so very selfish in my life, I am surprised that I am doing so, so easily.
It’s not just out of necessity or love that I give up my things, I just feel the need to be lighter, free from the burden of all this stuff. Sure, I am still taking an entire scrapbook room with me, but I also found myself donating things to the school, takings things to goodwill, offering up dishes and things to other teens who spend so much time in my home with the kids. Even decorations that I have collected over the years, Christmas ornaments, camping gear , I happily give up, in the pursuit of getting my stash lighter.
I cant say for sure, that it is related to my spirituality, but I can say, in all the times I have moved over the years, I think this will be my lightest load. Something about being finding internal happiness allows me to stay happy without all of that stuff. I have read over the years that our homes are a reflection of our internal minds, perhaps in finding my spirituality, I have also found a desire to get rid of all this clutter. Perhaps in removing all of the old emotional baggage, the remnants of a life from the past are no longer needed.
I wanted to look in my books to find some quotes about this subject, but they are all packed, lol. And, in case you wondered, I still have way too many books. I got rid of some, the ones I read and feel I will never again need for reference, but still I have too many books. I suppose there are worse things to collect.