“…We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without.” ~Henry David Thoreau
The past week has been spent doing some deep spring cleaning. When I do this, I become very frustrated because I have more things than I have space. I am still attempting to cram a houseful of stuff into a much smaller townhome. Each year I peel off another layer of “treasures” and move them on to other homes, but there are still way too many layers remaining. And I find myself fighting a battle within.
One part of me whines and wishes we had never “downsized”. All of my stuff is too important to get rid of. I need these things yet there isn’t proper space to keep them here. The other part of me struggles to defend the simple life. Cast it all away; make it a deep religious experience this self tells me. Rise above your stuff. It’s a fierce battle that rages within me. No wonder I hate to spring-clean!
I know I need to accept some middle ground here and I will before the month is over. There will be bags of stuff to give away and there will be treasures to repack and reshelf. And a sense of calm will return. But the war is far from over. There will be more battles.
The problem, as defined by Charles Foster in The Sacred Journey, is this: “To a terrifying extent, we are simply lists of the things we own. Our dependence on them is so complete that we have come to have no existence apart from them.”
And that isn’t the way I want it.