My hubby and I are helping a friend who is a hoarder clean out her storage unit. She simply cannot afford to keep it so I have encouraged her to go through it and try to sell things she doesn’t want anymore. It is amazing how attached to useless things we can be. The attachment is so strong that when I suggested throwing some of the things out or donating them I saw sheer panic. I realized that this is much bigger than just downsizing and it had to be handled delicately. I am the opposite. If I don’t use something within 6 months I kiss it goodbye. A few years back I read the Tao De Ching which is a Chinese classic text that can be a blueprint for your life but one part of it talked about attachments so I decided to take about 4 big green trash bags and 2 boxes full of stuff I loved to good will. We always give away what we don’t want but it’s much more powerful to “let go” of what we love. I even put some things in there that belonged to my mother who has been gone many years….gasp, gasp! I know what you are thinking because I have heard it before…how could I do that? My mother and father will always and forever be in my heart. I don’t need things to remind me of them or make me think about them. I feel them and that is all I need. Let another person enjoy her beautiful pieces of china that will bring new happiness and good memories. Releasing that stuff was such a freeing feeling that I don’t have anything in my attic or basement. I even got rid of all my yearbooks from school! I never held on to much but I hold on to even less now. We have become a culture of collecting things to fill up our lives and what is supposed to make us feel better…but that’s short-lived. And that’s why we need to go out and get more stuff!
Psychologists say that hoarders feel safe when they have all these possessions around them. Similarly, our body is like a storage unit where we put things and then forget about them for years. However they are still there and belong to us which leaves us with a responsibility to deal with them….or not. In yoga it is believed that memories are stored in our hips which explains why you hear that older people break their hips. They are frail from all the memories stored in there that they never dealt with. They can just sit there as we collect more. A cluttered house is a metaphor for a cluttered mind and soul. Once you start getting rid of those layers it becomes very freeing.
Buddha says that our attachment to things is what brings great unhappiness. Detachment and forgiveness is the way to true and lasting happiness. What are you holding on to that would better serve you if you let it go?
Peace and release,