Give it away. I remember reading one time that one of my favorite highly evolved spiritual teachers gave away anything that she had grown too attached to. I am not at that level in my own development, although I am turning a corner about understanding what things are worth. The truth is that the more you possess, the more time and energy it takes to maintain. And then at the end of a life of collecting stuff, either you or some innocent bystander in your life has the task of getting rid of it all.
I just witnessed this when I cleaned out my dad’s apartment. He saved things like old alarm clocks and broken chairs that belonged to a 70’s dinette set. He even had old bottles of Mercurochrome that were used on my scraped knees in the 1960’s. What is it about our stuff that has such a strong hold over us? I have some of it in me… hanging onto kids’ clothes long outgrown confusing the thing with the time it represented. While I recognize that some stuff does recall a memory that otherwise might not have come to me again, I have come to doubt whether it is worth the weight of the stuff.
Recently, I have acquired a piece of property adjoining our home with 3 dilapidated old homes that are full of the stuff of the lives that inhabited those spaces for the last 70 years. Witnessing and dealing with the collection of all this old, musty, stinky stuff has shaken me out of whatever acquisition mind-set still remained. Sorting through the lives of strangers offers an entirely new perspective on your own piles of stuff.
Maybe it’s a middle age thing, where giving things away becomes as big a gift for the giver as it is for the receiver. And what’s more is that it offers a magical kind of protection that is hard to come by- when you can let go of what you have easily, gratefully even, the fear of losing it disappears. Then what remains is lighter. It translates into this slowly seeping recognition that what we truly hold is inside of us, the rest is just window decoration that can easily block the view.