>> Thursday, November 13, 2008
"A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it. You can see that when you're taking off in an airplane. You look down, you see everybody's got a little pile of stuff. All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn't want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you're saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff!" George Carlin
How much stuff do you have...no, really...take a look around your home or office and inventory your 'stuff".
Now ask yourself "how much stuff do I need"? Sentiment aside...how much of your trinkets and tchotchkes do you really need to live?
Need that collection of dust-bunny laden stuffed animals? How about the high school jacket in the back of your closet. Is it necessary to have 3 sets of china?
Now consider how much effort it takes physically, mentally, emotionally and logistically to maintain all that life hoard. You have to move it, fold it, dust it, wash it, arrange it, polish it, straighten it, iron it, hang it, insure it. When it breaks, you have to fix it, order it, replace it, claim it, bury it and on it goes.
In the art world, Minimalism is defined as paintings and sculpture that thrive on simplicity in both content and form. The aim is to allow the viewer to experience the work more intensely without the distractions of composition and theme.
What if you exorcised 1/4 of all that flotsam and got back to the fundamentals of what life is all about. What if you pared down the material items that keep you from experiencing life more intensely without distractions? How? Searching for sensual gratification is pointless, since it leads only to craving and obsession. Associated with attachment in this context are: possessiveness in relationships, defensiveness, jealousy, covetousness, acquisitiveness, and competitiveness. One must look away from external acts and towards the area of inner attitudes and motivations.
Put it into perspective
How many things do you own that you consider to be truly special or irreplaceable? I don't mean something that you had to fight off a gaggle of other shoppers at the Filenes sale for...I mean the stuff that you would run back into a burning building for. For most of us these treasures, the ones worth keeping, are a fraction of the overindulgences.
Waste not want not
Can you say "I don't have anything I don't really need and I know exactly where everything is"?
Our society supports the ‘more is better’ mantra, with obvious faults. The modern abundance is
unsustainable, wasteful and harmful. We would do well to remember that all we enjoy comes with several price tags: accumulating things costs money and our environment is suffering; two fairly convincing motivators if you ask me.
I find that when I am trying to avoiding coming to terms with something unsettled in my life, things start to filter back into the nooks and crannies. Force yourself to look inward and figure out why the need to fill the material voids exist. Are you happy with your relationships with others, with yourself? Dig deep and learn what triggers your discontent and "spend" your time healing wounds instead of filling unmet needs in your world.
Photo of Dirty White Trash - Sculpture by Noble and Sue Webster