I’m an imperfect practitioner of decluttering. I try, but it’s hard. Which today raised these questions in my mind: Are we our things? Do our possessions define us?
For some, the answer may be yes. I think that was true of me for many years.
But perhaps the “things” evoke memories and teachings that go far beyond the physical representations.
I’m much less attached to stuff than I used to be, but I still struggle with my annual decluttering extravaganza.
What does our stuff mean to us?
When people walk into my home, they can see indigenous art from all over the world. It’s clear what I love, what speaks to me.
And what would happen if I lost them all? I’d be sad, but not devastated because it’s the spiritual practices behind these things that give them their beauty in my eyes. And that is something that can stay with me.
“Start before you’re ready” may be the best advice I’ve ever gotten.
As a child I was afraid to start any undertaking, for fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.
Afraid of failing.
I think a lot of people can relate to that, and it causes us to be overly cautious about taking risks or starting work or projects that would make our hearts sing, if it weren’t for the fear.
“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” ~ Miles Davis
We’re taught to be cautious and afraid, by parents who, in trying to protect us from disappointment, discourage us from pursuing our dreams.
From schools that grade us and humiliate us for not meeting their standards.
But taking risk is how we learn, grow and succeed.
The concept of making “new year’s resolutions” has been a bit of a joke in our society for about as long as I can remember — the joke being that people never follow through so the “resolution” will never come to fruition. And for reasons that escape me, very few people talk about the key to success, which is “goal setting.”
And that’s a shame because the start of a new cycle [of anything, not just a year] is a chance at a new beginning.
How often in our lives have we wished for a “do over?” Well, we can “start over” any old time. And setting specific goals, instead of making resolutions, is an excellent way to do it.
But you have to know the right steps.
The reason resolutions don’t work is that they’re just words and don’t include a plan. Research has shown that after six months, less than half of people who made New Year’s Resolutions have stuck to them; after a year, less than 10%. Why? Because they had no plans.
Goals, however, entail a plan and focus on action!
“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
~ Alan Cohen
In a world where many have too much “stuff”, gift ideas at the holidays are often a perplexing problem.
I love to gift experiences, often in the form of books, and you might consider doing the same.
An inspirational gift idea:
The Wind Is My Mother; the Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman is beloved throughout the world. There’s a reason it’s been in continuous print since 1996 and translated into a dozen languages:
“An extremely inspirational book filled with wisdom that has been passed down for centuries. It is a combination of Universal Truths and every-day living. Grandfather Bear Heart sits right up there with Fools Crow as one of the True Holy Men of our time.” – Amazon reader
“What an incredible book! It was warm, witty, insightful but mostly a “Keeper”! I leave it by my bed, and open it when I wish to be surrounded by the warmth of Bear Heart.” – Amazon reader
“Bear Heart has a wisdom in his words that I use daily to further my spiritual growth. My copy lives right there on my nightstand and gets referred to on a regular basis. I have bought about three dozen copies of this book to share with friends and family trying to get their spiritual lives in balance.” – Amazon reader
Whose God is it, anyway?
That’s the question I asked myself when I received a letter from a reader who was concerned that her prayers to God might be rejected because she’s not a Christian.
That’s a heavy thought, but I immediately reassured her that her prayers would not be rejected by a compassionate, wise, good and just God just because she isn’t a Christian.
The reason is that God is not Christian.
God is not Muslim.
God is not Jewish, or Buddhist or Native American…
There is just one God and whatever your beliefs, your prayers are heard. Period.