Even though I’m still on medical leave and am not supposed to be spending time sitting at my desk and writing, I wanted to share a few personal observations as I prepare to make another long-distance move in two weeks to a new place, a new city, a new life and a new way of being.
So many of us today are consumed with consuming. It’s what one of the key premises in my book, “A Simple Path to The Good Life,” is all about. Maybe the “good” life we’ve been chasing is not so good for us after all.
From the moment we get up until we sleep, too many of us are obsessively busy waging the battle, enacting the quest of having more, buying more, owning more, being more, proving more. More stuff, more property, more money, more fame, and more things.
It’s about acquisition. Grades. Awards. Titles. Ownership. Status. Notoriety. Control. Power.
And yet, for anyone who has taken advantage of relocating to explore and consider what might be left behind, given away, or sold, there is an amazing, unexpected and freeing aspect to letting go that defies mere literal definitions.
It works just like Playing with a Full Deck.™ Moving on offers us an opportunity to re-consider, rearrange, reposition, re-form, not just what we have, but who we are and what we’d like this new life we’re approaching to become, as well as ponder just what we really need to have – in possessions, space or wealth – to build a new life that breathes a sharper image and imprint onto our hearts and souls.
We don’t just have to give or throw things away when they are worn or broken or when we’ve forgotten them in the back of a cupboard or grown bored with them.
The Inner Bottom Line is all about values and choices.
If we sit down in a quiet place and honestly ask ourselves how much of any good thing we really need, really use, it’s often surprising to discover how much is excess and not needed or useful. That’s why, in a moment of crisis, if we pay attention, we are given an opportunity to realize how few essentials we need to get by and function well.
We often discover that it’s the basic things, like hot water and soap to bathe, a soft, safe place to sleep, a towel to dry ourselves, comfortable clothes to protect our bodies from the climate, shoes on our feet, warm food in our stomachs and enough clean water to drink. Take away those essentials, and all the fancy furniture, clothes, and techno-tools not only don’t cut it, they are often, in crisis, useless or don’t work.
Think back to Hurricane Sandy and what people went through when everything was destroyed. The frantic struggle to get their phones to charge and work again mixed into the search for shelter and hot coffee and food. I often wonder how silly a species we’ve become to have our values and priorities so misaligned. Yes, of course, it’s elemental to want to reconnect with loved ones and assure them we’re okay during a disaster, but I wonder what percentage of the calls were made for that rather than for the broad need to feel in control of being connected to the general grid again.
And so, on the eve of a sale and moving on, surrounded by a lot of things which hold sweet or poignant memories of time, place and love, I am once again reminded about the material things that I am finding the hardest to let go; my piano, the dear, stuffed bears all of whom wear names given in love over the years, and a box of my daughters’ baby clothes.
In opening up this long-shut-up box and fondly going through the tiny dresses and sweaters, I was struck with the realization that life is a series of moments in which we move on by letting go.
It’s not always easy. It demands patience, honesty, even grace and humor. But the freedom that comes from letting go and paying it forward is priceless.
If you get the chance to try it sometime, I encourage you to do so.
You can submit your questions or book private phone sessions with Olive at theinnerbottomline.com, explore her new blog at whatskeepingyouawakeatnight.com, or call into her blogtalkradio.com show, “The Inner Bottom Line,” at 661-449-1425 with your questions. All letters and calls can be anonymous and confidential.
Kindle and audio versions along with the hard cover of Olive’s book, The Nude Ethicist: A Simple Path to The Good Life, are now available on amazon.com.