"Practice seeing joy in the natural world rather than seeking fulfillment in ownership." Wayne W. Dyer
When I was growing up, my family moved frequently. In fact, we lived in 10 different houses during my school years. The one benefit from moving so much was I became an expert at paring down and traveling light! Before a move, I would decide what I really wanted to keep and then give away the rest to my friends. Although moving to a new neighborhood and school was often a bit scary, I considered the whole process a big adventure. And the best part was sharing things I no longer needed with my friends and seeing their delight in receiving something I had valued.
Moving frequently carried over into my earlier years of marriage. The training portion of my husband's first job, after graduation, required us to live in six different cities over 12 months. At the end of that first year, Gary received his draft notice from the Army and we were off again! Needless to say, I continued to hone my skills at traveling light and learning to live with less "stuff". We really worked to keep our belongings to what would fit in our car. And because of the adventure we were having exploring new places and making new friends, we really didn't miss having lots of things.
It wasn't until we finally settled into one location for several years, that we noticed every room and closet in our house was filling up with possessions. Gone were the days of freedom to move quickly and easily. It seemed that we had replaced the adventurous part of our lives with things we bought. We went through this "accumulation" phase for many years until we finally realized that happiness does not come from what we own. There's great freedom in knowing your ability to be happy isn't dependent on how much stuff you add to your life. So now we are continuously pruning our belongings, sharing what we no longer need with others and planning to "hit the road" again when we retire!
As Dr. Dyer says: "Every material thing you add to your life brings with it an element of imprisonment" - you have to clean it, insure it, protect it, maintain it, store it, pack it, as well as move it. Take a look at your surroundings. Are you working hard just to cover credit card payments for more stuff or bigger and better things? Although we do need and enjoy a certain number of possessions, think about consciously decreasing your need to purchase more effects and instead of adding, see what you can subtract. What do you have you no longer need? Who could benefit from your unused extra items? How would it feel to have more freedom, time, money, adventure, and joy by accumulating less? I challenge you to pick at least three possessions and pass them on right now!
I'm off to the library with a box of books to donate. Adventure awaits!!
Vicki Miller, CUCG, PCC / Copyright September 2007
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