Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The beauty in letting go

"We wake up with the notion that enough is not enough without more."-Ani DiFranco

A friend recently sent me this quote with an e-mail explaining she was sick of feeling helpless and needed to do something with her life. There had been many times that she up and left a location, sold all her things, and went to another country to help people. When she came back to Miami she easily fell into the trap that most of us are guilty of. Buy, buy, buy, more, more, more. She lived in a beautiful, brand new apartment, with all brand new appliances. She loved the place and had a very hard time letting it go when she realized this was just not right for her. She currently lives in a much smaller, older, apartment, in a not so good neighborhood. But she couldn't be happier. She is finally regaining her sense of self because she rid all the unnecessary possessions she was consuming. This relates a lot to the "24 Things Autumn Surrender" challenge (mentioned in my past blog). I could not agree more that letting go of material items really lifts a burden off your shoulders. Recently, for the Autumn Surrender I donated three bags of clothes that have been taking up way too much space in my life. I knew for a long time I needed to get rid of them, but the actual act of doing seemed too complicated and too time consuming. I just happened to have them in my car, hoping I would run into a Goodwill drop off box, when I ran into a large donation truck that donates their proceeds to saving the environment! I could not be happier to get these clothes off my hands and go to a charity that I actually believed in. Of course there was a piece of me that debated if there were some good clothes in there that I would possibly "reuse" one day, but then I realized that these clothes are not who I am. They are going to a better cause and to people who actually do need them. As Americans, and probably many other places in the world, we feel that our possessions identify who we are. If I drive a nice car, and wear really fancy jewelry then that must mean I am rich, and beautiful, and I am  better than the next person. When in reality, you are living from pay check to pay check and stressed because you can't afford your own lifestyle. To rid yourself of all these material ties, you must get rid of things you don't need. The comment "less is more" could not sum up life any better. This past week, I thought I lost a ring that I bought in Costa Rica. The ring was $8 but it held sentimental value. I had a slight anxiety attack for a moment and then had to laugh at myself for getting so upset over a ring. I told myself that one day I will lose this ring. Whether I give it to someone, I actually lose it, it breaks or I die. Regardless, that ring is going to be gone one day. So why not let go of it now? Material possessions stress people out more than they realize. My whole life I thought if I just had more clothes, a nice car, a nice apartment, then everything would be okay and all my stress would be gone. But it is the complete opposite of that. All of those things come with stress. It was only after Costa Rica, where I saw people living in bathing suits with not one piece of jewelry except for maybe a handmade shell earring (which they actually used to smoke marijuana out of...very clever) that I realized that everything is copasetic for them because they have nothing to worry about except for their health and having a great time. We should all learn from them, and give our possessions that we do not need to people who really do, or even people who may appreciate them a little more than we do. 

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