Everything You Call Mine is Holding You

One of the things that people ask most consistently about the path that we have taken is "Do you miss your things?" The simple answer is: No. The longer answer is:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://gettingfr.ee/2018/08/13/everything-you-call-mine-is-holding-you/

I adore this post. I have a lifelong tendency to hold onto things. As you say, they are familiar and seem a part of me. I am slowly working towards culling, shedding, letting go. Each time I go through my things I am able to let go of a bit more. In addition to wanting breathe in more space into my being if you will, after the sudden loss of my father and going through his things, it made me think of what I do and do not want my kids and loved ones to have to go through when I am gone one day. Anyway, I share all this to say I relate to your experiences within your letting go, and appreciate your lighting a way for me to continue in mine.

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Thanks for your thoughts, Laura. One of the most interesting parts of the journey for us which you might find useful has been the realization that when we can see things, we often think we need them, but when we cannot see them, we do not miss them. In the early phases, we would keep a donation pile going, and often things were preliminary – we’d set them into the pile thinking that we’d wait to see if we missed them, then donate in a couple months; over time we learned that we almost never missed anything. Having the pile sit for a while made it easier to lean into letting go. The trick is NOT to go through the pile again, because when we see the thing, this often inspires longing, but if we didn’t even remember it was there… well. Really, it can go. The other thing that I forgot to mention in my post is that the more you let go of, the more what remains is what you love most, so the more you let go of, the more what you have shines simple and clear and wonderful!

I didn’t address personal papers in this post, because I let them go a long time ago; that was an earlier process for me. I had journals from third grade until… I think I stopped keeping them in my late 20s. Dozens of books. After years of theoretical consideration of whether to shed them, I began to read them – and discovered that I had mostly used them for emotional processing of hardship. They were not even an accurate record of my existence; they were a record mostly of my pain before I integrated it well. I sat down and ripped them apart, dropped a few pages at a time into the shredder, reading a little as I went. I saved a few precious, lovely breakthrough entries, but mostly, I was happy to see it go. I found I could only do this in spells; it took a lot out of me. I called it “digesting my life.” I’d do a little every so often; it went on for months. Finally, when I got to the ones from college, where I had also stapled every freaking draft of every poem (and I was studying writing poetry) in there, I thought: I know this. I don’t need to read this. I went to the beach with a couple of my girlfriends and BURNED THEM ALL in a big bonfire. It was heavenly!

It’s so kind of you to think of your family in this; many of the people whose paths I read and followed in my own journey of learning to live more lightly were inspired by their horror and/or sadness after having to dear with the material remains of the lives of their family members. It is a gift of love to our heirs and well as to the planet to live more lightly!

I look forward to hearing how your journey with this goes.

Great post. I love the way you captured the feeling of how it seems so hard to let go in the beginning, but after a while, few things maintain that hold on you.

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Your light way with possessions has been a great inspiration for me, Aimee! I love the way that you always make a comfortable home, and how open you are to what that might be. I’ve seen you do that in San Francisco, Paris, Seattle, Boston… you just ride the flow of life so well, and accept what you have to work with in doing it. Seeing how well you have maintained your friendships as your life has led you to different places has also helped me to be brave about leaving this place which holds so many people that we love. Thank you for your inspiration and your presence here!

I woke up this morning and in the early drowsing where you can see the mind doing integration, I found myself thinking:


We are in the final throes of this now! At first, the purge felt freeing, but now that we feel like we’ve gotten rid of all the things and now need to get rid of more, we’re having a hard time. But, in the end, they are things. We don’t throw out the memories by getting rid of the material items. The mantra that is continually repeating in my head these days… :slight_smile:

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Katie, I’m so excited for you and Mike! You are definitely holding onto less than us; we have a 10x10 storage unit. Mostly books. Wishing you well and inspired by your lightness!