Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beathe {inspiration for Wednesdays}

We cleaned out a member of our family's (who will remain nameless) room the other day. Much to my shock and horror, we found STUFF crammed into every nook and space in the area. There was STUFF behind the bed, under the bed, between the desk and the wall, in the closet, in every drawer and in the overflowing garbage! STUFF, STUFF, STUFF, STUFF, STUFF....Three bags full!!

Why do we live with so much STUFF? Why do we feel the compulsion to accumulate? What does it do for us? Maybe it makes us feel safe..."if I have all this stuff, bad things won't happen to me"; maybe it makes us feel prepared..."you never know when you might need a ____________"; maybe it makes us feel powerful...."I have more stuff than you, therefore I am better".

Most of the time, however, I just think it happens because we stop paying attention. We hunt, gather and store, like our ancient ancestors, but we, unlike them, don't have any reason for it!

One thing I know for sure is that "stuff-ness is suffocating"...and the funny thing is, we don't even know it. Accumulating is a giant anaconda squeezing its victim just a little bit more with each exhale, so the lungs can't open to their previous capacity. We are suffocating under the weight of our STUFF and we don't realize it until we sweep it into a pile and haul it away.

Three bags (and I mean giant sized-garbage bags!) into our "take-back-my-room" campaign, I could almost physically hear the sound of a full inhale and exhale. Air was reaching into the depths of oxygen deprived lungs! The family member remarked how much better he/she felt and how all of life felt more clean and spacious!

You see the clutter wasn't just occupying space in his/her room, it was crowding out his/her soul as well. Getting rid of the clutter released the soul.

And here I am, writing this at a time of year when we are all running out to buy more STUFF. We need to get lots of STUFF for people who already have more than enough STUFF. We try to STUFF ourselves with food and call it celebration. Every commercial is about more STUFF we can't live without. What is a girl to do? I just checked the color of my skin to be sure it wasn't turning Grinch-green.

Maybe we can't stop all our STUFF compulsions, but maybe, just maybe we can choose not to buy more STUFF just for STUFF's sake. Maybe we can give gifts of experiences, or maybe just a gift of company and a cup of coffee or tea.

Maybe the real gift is NOT giving more STUFF to our loved ones! (How would you put a gift tag on that one?)

And maybe we should give a small gift to ourselves too....finding a small space to clean out - a drawer, the floor of our cars - and getting rid of the STUFF that clutters. Who knows maybe we might be motivated to tackle bigger STUFF problems!

Now I know this isn't rocket science....we kind of know this, right? But the question is, are we willing to let go ofthe STUFF that suffocates us in order to breathe deeply in wider (though perhaps barren-feeling) spaces?

May we all let go of the compulsion to gather more and more STUFF. May we give our STUFF away or throw it away and find a large clearing and a spacious place. And in that spacious place, may we find we can breathe more freely once again.
Breathe, smile and go slowly.

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