Not inside our things, but inside of us…

Tomorrow, we embark on a new year and with it will come (presumably) new experiences. For some of us, it may even bring a few new goals, although getting out of 2020 alive looks to be at the top of most people’s list. It’s been a difficult year, to say the least…..a year of devastating loss and a time when the weight of our worries has pressed itself upon us with more crushing intensity than years prior and the need to let go has made itself ever more apparent in the process.

But I’m sitting alone in the warm and comfortable home of friends this morning, house-sitting while they are away, and my thoughts are not on the loss and devastation, but on what I’m going to do with my time while I’m here….the first month of this new year.

And as I contemplate the possibilities with coffee in hand, my mind begins to seek inspiration for the simple and peaceful days I envision and I turn to a few videos on minimalism to get my mind moving in the right direction. After all, my constant need to rid myself of possessions is almost as never ending as my need for life’s much more basic necessities and if I stop ridding, I drown. I drown in the pool of garbage my greed and hunger attracts like stars to a black hole. Yes, the stars are beautiful and wanting them seems harmless enough, but I wonder if it’s possible to enjoy them amidst all of the other space junk also collected. And that’s not even the biggest issue. A more significant problem we create for ourselves is that a star’s light most assuredly goes out as soon we have it in our dark little grasp and attaining more shiny things soon enough becomes the only way we stay “alive”…..our continued consumption ultimately being the only evidence of our existence.

But I’m not writing this morning to dwell on the destructive effects of materialism, greed, desire, possession. A new year is about new starts and positive effort and I want to focus on these. And so, with this being said, I’d like to share one of the videos I watched this morning.

It was made by two men you may know from a documentary on minimalism that came out about five years ago. And although the video (which you can view below) addresses a familiar issue….that people often hold onto things because of the memories they associate with/attach to the things…..the proposed solution got my attention. It is a solution that many of us may discover in the process of letting go of our “stuff,” but I’d like to mention it here and share the video for those who may be just beginning their minimalism journey.

The solution is to take a photograph of an object before giving it away or selling it in order to preserve it…..and yes, it works. It works so well, in fact, that I suggest that anyone struggling to rid themselves of clutter once and for all as they head into the new year, do this one thing and then let go. Whether it’s a keepsake or just something you like looking at, but don’t actually need, take a photo and say good-bye. Keep only what you use and a few of things that bring you the most joy and limit those. You’ll find that everything means a lot more when you have less and your photos are always there for the times you just want to reminisce or be inspired.

You’ve heard the expression that possession is nine-tenths of the law? Well, I would argue that a photograph of an object is nine-tenths of possession…..and just seeing a picture of an object can unlock our memories every bit as much as the actual item. Because, as “the minimalists” say in the following video, “Our memories are not inside our things. Our memories are inside us.” Enjoy and Happy New Year to you all!

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