Letting go

Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

What I am trying to let go of is stuff.

Over the years, I have acquired a lot of things. Books, CDs, clothes, journals, pens, colored pencils, dinnerware, furniture, pieces of paper, magazines, etc., etc. I have much more than I need and much more than I can use.

If you follow the axiom that we wear 20% of our clothing 80% of the time – then why do I have – or need – so many clothes. Clothing that doesn’t fit me, or is old and raggedy does me no favors. I don’t look good wearing it and I end up focusing more on the “fit” or the “look” than on my daily activities. If an article of clothing is “precious” because of the memory or memories attached, I have come to realize that I don’t lose the memories just because I let go of the object. And my work with dementia patients at the end of life has taught me that if my memory goes, an object is unlikely to restore it.

Holding on to books because I haven’t read them yet or might want to reread them takes away space for books I do want and books I will use. The same with music I don’t listen to. I have limited space and I have come to realize that I don’t need to fill it all up. That, in fact, freeing up space frees me up to do more with what I have left.

Am I successful at this? Not yet. This is a work in progress. I get rid of books, but I buy more. I hear new music and I find I want to hear more of it. I try to be more selective about what I do bring into my life, but I know that some things expand my life – new skills, new hobbies. But I also remind myself that we get more pleasure from experiences than we do with things. The fewer things I have, the more resources I have for experiences. So I try to resist acquisition and I find delight in donating or recycling that which I don’t need. And I keep trying to let more go.

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About wallcough

Trying to find beauty and joy in the world around me . I am many things, among them a quilter, a knitter, and an incessant reader. There is not enough time for them all, so I jump in between them as the mood hits me. Professionally - a rabbi; a hospice chaplain.
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One Response to Letting go

  1. Donna says:

    Julie… reading through your thoughts in blog…has been inspiring for me! I miss you already…your funny FUNNY insight, and ability to just “say it like it is”.

    Letting go is a BIG one!! This year I have learned over many challenges to let go of my preconcieved notions about who I am to be! Who do I want to be when I grow up? That is too much to ponder, and futile to plan!
    I have learned to let go of my expectations…and begun to embrace acceptance and then contentment! My personal life…and my career, are teaching me every day of the huge and awesome power that comes with letting go!
    I rememeber standing at the base of one of the mountains in the Grand Teton mountain range in Wyoming. The sky was absolutely HUGE… And there at the tip of my toes, was the beginning of an incline that plunged right through the clouds!! I felt so small… so powerless….so liberated!!!
    I re-experienced this same feeling when I stood, with my toes touching the waves of the Atlantic Ocean in Maine in the dead of winter. There was not a soul to be seen…to my left…to my right. Just me and this huge expanse of ocean. I called friend, and said “You will never guess where I am standing! At the very edge of the United States of America! If I were any closer I would fall OUT OF THE COUNTRY!!” Again…so small…so powerless….so liberated!!!
    I am so glad and blessed that you shared your blog with me!!
    I am so glad and blessed that you have become one of those threads that makes a fabric, that unfolds into a life!!
    Donna Miller

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