Monday, 1 May 2017

Bye Bye Fisherman et al.


I've ummed and ahhed about whether to write this post or not.  There's lots about my life that I don't publicise to the whole world.  I might be exaggerating about the reach of my writing but I know that at least a few hundred strangers will be party to this highly personal reflection.  In weighing up whether or not to publish, I've decided that sharing may be helpful to others...so here goes.

The need to explore the meaning of life has been increasing over past years.  The premature passing of my sister and a close friend, my own brushes with death and mental illness and the breakdown of my marriage have all been possible catalysts.  I work on different things at different times.  One of the things that I've been mulling over lately is my relationship to the material world.  Thich Nhat Hanh has said

'What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.'



I mentioned my Appalachian Trail exploits a couple of days ago.  That was a time when I was incredibly content. I carried very little aside from the book: A couple of changes of clothing, basic toiletries, a pen and notepad, my bedding and my half share of a selection of very lightweight camping equipment.  Devoid of possessions I found a freedom that I'd never felt before. Not many people in the developed world are privileged enough to have that experience.  Since then the responsibility of ownership has weighed quite heavily.

So these days I give away more than I acquire.  There's a carload of stuff to go to the charity shop at the moment.  I freecycled the exercise bike the other day.  Now I run regularly I don't need it.  It went to a lady who was trying to regain fitness after a hip replacement.  I was happy about that.   But a Wayne Dyer talk that I was listening to got me thinking.  He put forward the idea that, in order to make room for what we truly desire, we should give away things that we are really attached as well as the things that we  no longer have a use for. As I was meditating the other day the specifics of what I needed to do were made known.  It felt like I was being asked to give certain prized possessions away.



I gifted the lovely David Deakin picture of cutesy houses to Salty Dog.  She knows that it was special to me.  'Why are you doing this?'  I got embarrassed for I'm having difficulty myself with what's going on.  'I think God told me too.'  I said.   We laughed our socks off.  Even though Salty Dog doesn't go with the 'hippy shit' herself she's delighted and accepted the gift nonetheless!  Rather than being sad about this I felt strangely liberating.  I'll still see the painting but not in my own home.

Other people that I've told have been rather shocked at what I'm doing too.  'Aren't you worried that you'll be left with nothing?' asked one.  That's the last thing I'm anxious about.  I knew someone once who lost everything.  They woke up in hospital after being unconscious for several weeks.  By then their landlord had disposed of all that they owned because he thought they'd done a runner. They survived and went on to rebuild a life.  I am loved and know with 100% certainty that folks would rally round if something similar happened to me.

My boys are incredulous but opportunists.  'Can we have your Splash dish?' one of them asked hopefully.  I declined, not because I'm clinging onto it.  I was given specific instructions on who that should go to.  Someone is going to have a wonderful surprise when I see them.  But as a mark of my love for them, I've decided to hand over my Bernard Moss fisherman to Mr Metrosexual and Ruff Stu.  God didn't tell me to do this.  It's a decision that I made all by myself!

16 comments:

  1. You know when you read a post and you want to write a great comment but can't find the right words? that's exactly where I am, so I will just say I totally get what your writing about and where you are. Go with the flow and follow your guidance.

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    1. I'm glad I've communicated to you clearly. Thanks for letting me know. xx

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  2. There is a lot to reflect on-our stuff, the people in our lives, what means the most. I've been particularly drawn to watching Youtube videos on camper/van life, and hut living. I keep saying once I am not responsible for my daughter, then I will minimize stuff in my my life-my dwelling being a major part of that, but your approach can make sense in the meantime.

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    1. I'm thinking teeny base and motorhome when Louis has flown the nest too. xx

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  3. We seem to have a surplus of stuff. I find I feel stressed when the clutter seems to encroach and try as I might, despite keeping our local charity shop well stocked, I feel we still have too much stuff. My other half sometimes seems oblivious to the piles he creates and saves. I shall go and listen to Mr Dyer and be rejuvenated!

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    1. I've got quite good at that over the years. The problem is that I sometimes throw stuff away that I need a little way down the line. Not a bad problem to have. xx

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  4. I'm getting there very slowly but I have stopped buying stuff-food and essentials only where possible. I have given away, donated, upcycled with real purpose this year as I have decided to photograph things and then move them on. My daughter will put everything in a huge skip anyway, so don't know why I keep hesitating. Catriona

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    1. I love my photo of the Splash bowl. I was looking at it yesterday and saw how the blue glass reflected against the pebbles. xx

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  5. My family laugh at me, when I say 1 thing in, 1 thing out. (Or more) I give away lots. It is on going . Its so easy when you put things in perspective. You lost a sister. I lost a daughter. People matter, not stuff. I agree with the comment about it being liberating to have less.

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    1. I think I'm at the 3 things out 1 thing in stage - at least. I dream of a day when I don't get rid of stuff because it's all either useful or beautiful - unless I gift it of course. xx

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  6. Not for the first time I'm Kate's "comment twin" :). I continually try to simplify and cannot cope with clutter and Husband wants to kep EVERYTHING. Aargh . . . I know a big turning point for me was when we got the caravan. Each time I go away I take less and less with me and find absolute joy is just how little of our 21st century "essentials" I actually need.

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    1. Yes the motorhome is like that too although I did accumulate stuff when I lived in it. When I moved back to the house it was lovely to clear it and start from scratch again. xx

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  7. I think you have a lot of kindred spirits out there and I have a few close friends who completely de cluttered, down sized and now live simply without things weighing them down.
    As I lay here ( waiting for the boy to finish in the bathroom so I can have my shower ) I'm looking around my full to bursting bedroom of stuff.
    You would die if you came in here!! There is just so much, I wouldn't know where to start...but here's the thing...I don't think I want to! I'm looking at the teddies in my fireplace that I washed yesterday and put back. I don't neeeeeed them, they have a place, but they are attached to my heart I cannot give them away. I feel genuine guilt at even 'thinking' of getting rid!! Loads of stuff in here is boxed up waiting for the offspring to get their own places so it won't be for ever
    But most of it is mine and the HGs.
    As Catriona said, the kids will have to get a mega sized skip!! I'm clearly the yang to your ying!!

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    1. I go into other people's home and don't really judge them for being able to live in an environment with lots of stuff. In fact if they're content with it I marvel a bit. The need to declutter is pretty personal. There's a dichotomy between my mental state and the state of order/disorder of where I live and work. The car is always a pigging mess though!! xx

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  8. Over the years I have found the more I have the more I am discontent as it becomes visual noise to me and affects my day to day life, as I become fractious. Its good that we move house every 1-2 years. Else we would be over run. Today I left cake tins and baking trays on the island and told the Mr, keep what we need, I am not moving it all. 3 of them are the same size? I dont bake cakes he does, so heck knows if we need them. I think not.

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    1. When I moved out of my marital home I took some of my possessions but had lots of things to buy for the new house. I found the endless arrival of new stuff quite distressing. Aside from naughty charity shop dresses not a lot comes in now. I'd like to think that with the arrival of my new 'armoire' I don't have any more furniture to buy ever in my life! Wishing you much happiness in your latest home. xx

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