What does this have to do with horses? Nothing, really.
But it does have something to do with mindfulness.
If a piece of Tupperware falls down on my head every time I go into the pantry to get a can of beans, I need to fix that because it’s just plain stupid. And if my husband accuses me of saving more glass jars than Howard Hughes, I might have a problem because . . . ewww.
Why WAS I saving glass jars? Adams 100% Natural Peanut Butter jars to be exact, plus a few odd sized pickle jars and such. Some of them I use for storing things like nuts and candy. But if my family goes through one jar of peanut butter per week, in one year I would have about 45 more empty jars than I could ever use or have room for, and anyway if I ever really did need another jar, it’s just a few more slabs of peanut butter toast away.
My mother grew up on a farm during the 30’s and 40’s, those times of the scarcities of the Great Depression and the rationing of WWII. Her family saved everything, because they had to. The motto for that generation was “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Certainly a fine rule of life that in this materialistic world we could all aspire to.
But there’s a difference between being heedlessly materialistic and saving bits of string and ribbon, scraps of paper, mail order catalogs from five years ago, broken things that will never be fixed and every still-unopened can of food ever purchased. My parents’ attic was filled to brim with stuff, it seemed to increase by some form of inbreeding. In fact much of it is still there; they passed away years ago, but the house is still in the family. Sometimes I pull down those squeaky wooden folding steps leading to the attic and climb up to rummage around, but there’s nothing of either monetary or sentimental value left, my siblings and I have picked it through, leaving just sad piles of dusty luggage, clothes no one would ever wear, and cat carriers for kitties that have been gone for decades.
But my mom’s voice is still in my head. “Don’t throw it out, you might need it some day.” And right there we have lost mindfulness by living in the future, with a touch of anxiety thrown in. Sure there is stuff I might, or even surely will need some day: the warranty for the refrigerator, the title to my car, my passport.
But how much stuff am I holding on to because of that worried voice telling me I might need it in the future, that I need to be afraid that there is a danger lurking ahead that I won't have enough? My mother was a strong person, a fundamentally good and generous woman, but not a particularly happy person. It was hard for her to live in the present, she carried too many resentments from the past and worries about the future.
Luckily I also have my dad’s voice in my head too. He was a man who could have lived happily on a 32 foot sailboat for his entire life, and he used to say “You don’t own your stuff, your stuff owns you.” So with that thought in my head, I decided to do some purging, and I started by pulling every single thing out of my overstuffed and messy kitchen pantry.
Here we go . . . . into the depths. Let there be light!
Date: September, 2016
Playlist: Classical for Focus (Amazon Prime)
End: 12:48pm (includes several episodes of wandering about the house for obscure reasons, does not include time spent labeling)
Amount taken to Goodwill: one large plastic storage bin
Amount recycled: 1 ½ bins
Amount dumped in garbage: about 30 pounds
These giant space hogging containers belong to Numbah One Son.
Guess how many are empty.
What am I . . . a squirrel?
There were walnuts stashed all over the place.
Ooh I didn't know these were in there.
I might be needing one.
I haven't baked a birthday cake in years.
Only one candle is needed; to stick in the cupcake bought at the last minute from Safeway.
Cookbooks are no longer needed because Pinterest.
But I'll keep this one as a family heirloom.
My mom made notes in it.
Yikes - what have I gotten myself into.
My assistant removing excess food molecules from the floor.
Putting everything back didn't take long at all
and was extremely satisfying.
The labels are reminders for those other people that live here.
This turned out to be more fun than I thought it would be. I was the only one home, I had nothing else to do that day, I just relaxed and enjoyed the process. There were a few things I had a hard time getting rid of, but over all I realized that most of them I didn't really need at all.
Do you have things in your life that are just filling up space without any real benefit?
Get rid of it - you'll feel better!
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