Owned by our possessions

If your house burnt down today, what would you miss the most? Is it the photos of all you have done, is it the new Plasma screen you just bought, the clothes in your wardrobe? What is the most important thing you own? What would you save first?

I have been living by myself for the past two weeks and have had time to think about all that is important to me.

I tried meditation and yoga with a friend of mine, Michael. It was an interesting experience, trying to relax whilst surrounded by other people.  Breathe in breathe out, live in the moment etc…. It would take practice but I can see how it works for some people. I spent the time listening and doing what the instructor said. For those who know me know that Im not very good with doing what Im told, but I did it.  I left feeling alert and aware of my breathing.

I’ve also noticed I have wanted to walk everywhere recently.  I walk around the city, the streets around my house, anywhere I feel like it.  I watch and observe the faces of the people who walk past me, the buildings around me.  I look at the bags we all carry, I look at the homeless people I pass, and I can see all of the things they possess.  I would have more items in my car. This random observation got me thinking – what do we really need to survive?  Why do I carry so much ‘stuff’ around in my handbag when I know I dont use it? I own all of these things, I move these things around with me from house to house, yet I dont know what half the stuff I have is or where it came from.

I watched the movie Up in the Air last night, and watched The Soloist tonight.  Both movies touch on the subject of possessions. Baggage, treasure, things, attachment.

I look around my apartment, and have a look, a really close look at all the things I own. From the lamps on each side of the bed, to the lounge I have in my lounge room.  I think about all the things I use on a regular basis, the things I enjoy using, the things I own because of the ‘history’ I have with it, or for sentimental value.

If I could only take one thing with me anywhere it would be the ring on my finge.  Itr has only been there for just over two weeks, and it is the most valuable item I own, and I dont mean price, but value to me personally.  It is sentimental.  It represents my future, my commitment to another person. It represents his commitment to me.

I opened my wardrobe and there are a few pieces of clothing that mean something to me, but there is a lot that I actually dont enjoy much, such as my heels.  I like the idea of them, how some of them make me feel, however if I didnt have them, I know I would survive.  So I made the decision to sell all of them.  I have kept one pair which I wear for interviews and business meetings, the rest are out.

I moved onto my jewellery collection.  I wear about 1/3 of the costume jewellery hanging from my mannequins.  So I decided that if I didnt love it, and it had no sentimental value that it would go. So it did.

I did this throughout the house, I moved from room to room and emptied my life of useless things that weigh me down, and ‘clog’ my life.  Even if you dont notice it, each thing you own adds weight to your life.

As George Clooneys character in Up in the Air states: Your relationships with people are the heaviest influences on your life, so they should be looked at carefully.

We can become so consumed by all that is around us, we forget who we are without all of it.  Stripped bare, who are you?  Are you who you are with all of it?  Really?

We should only ever own the things we have, our possessions should never own us.

If you feel lost in the ‘stuff’ in your life, let go and free yourself from the ownership.  After the flames die down, the only thing you really have is yourself and the people you love.

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