Too Much Stuff

I’ve resolved to clean up my life and organize my stuff.  With the help of Miss Twig, we succeeded in cleaning out what used to be a darkroom in the years BPh (before Photoshop), so that space can become a yoga and meditation room.  As you can see there’s still a big job ahead.  I’m working on an upcoming post about How Not to be Overwhelmed and judging by the stuff in the photo (just the tip of the iceberg I assure you) this should be a good chance to see whether or not I know what I’m talking about.

Simplify, Simplify!  One solution would be to give away all my possessions and go live in an ashram for the rest of my life, and although I’d be quite happy to do so, I’ll bet I won’t.  And I know a few people who wouldn’t be too happy if I did.  I’ve quite gotten over feeling that I’m a bad person for allowing all this stuff to accumulate, and I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us are besieged by Stuff which seems to have a will to pile up whether we like it or not.

I doubt that I could face this formidable mountain without occasionally  meditating on what it would be like if it all suddenly disappeared.  The truth is that I wouldn’t be that much worse off, and when we can’t stand to let something go, we probably imagine the loss to be much worse than it actually is.  I know an amateur musician who showed up every Monday just to read through music with friends in what I came to call the Curmudgeon’s Band – and he was one of the best curmudgeons I’ve ever met.  He would play violin or flute or whatever suited.  Someone told me that years ago he had asked around for a violin he could borrow.  It wasn’t until many weeks later that the other musicians learned that the reason he needed a violin was that his house had burned down and his many instruments with it – violins, wood winds, a few brass instruments.  He never complained, never said anything, just borrowed a fiddle and kept on playing.

I think the trick is balance, and I’m learning to give away books that I could get at the library, scan documents and re-cycle the paper, and I gave away a ‘cello case that, come to think of it I wouldn’t use even if I acquired another ‘cello!  Of course, then there’s my Dad’s Naval Officer’s hat – the tag inside says W. A. Cornell Lt. jg U. S. N. R.  Don’t know what I’d ever do with it but I’m not going to just toss it out, so maybe years from now I’ll find someone who would appreciate having it.  I guess the problem with Stuff is one of those paradoxes.  We must be able simultaneously to know that none of it is really very important, and yet treat every bit as sacred – even while tossing it in the dumpster.

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