When I look around me at all the half boxed-up items awaiting a decision about their fate, I wonder, why am I still hanging onto things I don't really want?
These things may at one time held some purpose for me. I enjoyed looking at them, playing with them, displaying them or using them. Somewhere along the line, they were replaced by things I liked better. But by then, I had invested something into these things. Some memory, some personal link, some meaning, which keeps me hanging onto them.
The memory or association may not even be a good one. I've got photos of people who I really don't want reminding of, and some whose names I've even forgotten. I've got stuff that was given to me that I never wanted in the first place, but felt some sort of obligation to the gifter to treasure it always. There are even some fruits of my labour, things I spent days, weeks or months creating, and even those things have no particular passion for me anymore.
So why is it still so hard to ship them out of the house?
It recently dawned on me that each thing has some kind of value to me. Whether monetary or sentimental, there is something personally invested in each thing, and I want the next owner to honour, respect and even share that designated value. However impractical, unlikely, or even ludicrous this idea is, this is how I feel. And until I change my attitude, I will remain tied to these things as if by an umbilical cord. If I sever the attachment abruptly, it will hurt. If I let it go while still feeling attached, I will feel loss. How can I learn to pass on these things to their new life someplace else, and feel okay, even good, about it?
The problem is that I have assigned a value to each thing. This value is based on a variety of criteria that is important to me. It could have a monetary aspect, such as how much I originally paid for it. Or there may be a fondness for the place, the time, or the person I was with when I acquired it. The item may have been given to me in commemoration of some special event, or I may feel that the association of it with a particular person makes it important. I may value it because I know that the marketplace values it, or because someone I admire or hold dear values it, and so therefore think I should as well.
If I could somehow detach from the Value I have placed on the item, then perhaps it would be a painless process to finally let go.
But then, is this a correct or wise way of going about it? Surely, if I null and void the value in the things that have constituted the environment of my life, there is a danger that I may judge my own life to be insignificant. Not a healthy thing to do, I should imagine. No, I think it is a very positive thing to value anything and everything that one encounters. Somehow, I must sever the attachment to that which I value.
Have you ever been in love with someone that didn't return your feelings? You didn't love them any less because you could not "have" them. And, when all was said and done and later analysed, you might even have appreciated that the two of you never did get together. You were able to appreciate them from afar, and hold that endearment pristine, and perhaps even care about them more, at a distance.
Life is not about possessing, attaining and holding in your clutches. It is about savouring, using all your senses fully to take in all the beautiful, wonderful things that you can. Once you've had your fill of that bright yellow flower of enjoyment, you can have the thrill of blowing away those wisps of a dandelion, and watch them float along the wind, trusting that wherever they land, is precisely where they are meant to be. It is out of your hands now, and in the cosmic field of perfect arrangement.
If you have Fully appreciated everything that has come your way, then you have absolutely no reason to require it any more. Perhaps my dismay at giving things away, is a sign that I have not truly valued it in the first place. By giving it away now, it means that I will never have that knowledge of fully experiencing that thing. And so, I feel a sense of loss because I never fully appreciated it.
When you love and appreciate someone or something fully, you love it regardless of whether it is in your sight or not. We can never truly possess anything – ashes to ashes. I can appreciate things I do not “own” just as much as I love what I have in my house.
The way to letting go of stuff is not by forming some kind of attitude of worthlessness to it. The way to let go and not feel attached any longer is by treasuring the time you had with it, knowing that it is always in your heart, and there it remains, for eternity. It, too, has its own life, its own journey, its own path of evolvement. Trust that it will, like a child who has grown up, make its own way through life, just as it should.
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