I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions which is why this resolution may work, given that it is October and not January 1st.
I have resolved to spend the year ahead being very mindful of where my energy is being expended with the aim to stop accumulating ‘things’. What things? Well, I’ll tell you what things. The things that I am still trying to pack into boxes for moving house at the end of the week! There is literally no end to the number of things we have collected like bower birds over the years.
There are things in boxes not even used, old broken things that have been kept because of some farcical notion they would be fixed and used again. Things that might come in handy. There are things that I just look at and think “what is this and why the hell do we even have it!”, such as a pristine barbecue utensil set. We haven’t owned a barbecue for over four years! There are more cups than I could ever drink out of, more bowls and more cutlery than I remember purchasing. No wonder there are always dirty dishes as we forgo washing what we have just used and instead take a clean item from the cupboard instead. At times, I think my cupboards must have false backs on them and connect to another dimension where they are endlessly filled. Don’t even get me started on Tupperware, cables or connector bits that belong to God knows what!
The sad part is, these useless unwanted things cost money, they also took time to purchase and get home. Once there they were shifted around and around before being pushed to the back of a cupboard and forgotten about. I know I have spent many hours clearing these same cupboards before now, and yet here I am again with the same ‘things’! It is quite staggering the volume of possessions we collect that we don’t need and although I am a lover of vintage and recycled things, this has been a huge wake up call to me. So many needless ‘things’. So much time spent. So much money wasted. Such a waste of time, energy and money all to satisfy some short-lived desires.
I know that for my resolution to be a success I must cut myself off from the endless marketing material that I am subjected to by email, television and magazines. No more will I be caught out by luscious advertising promoting things I don’t need. No more will I be tempted by special offers, double discounts and the marketing strategies that imply life will be so much sweeter if only we have this, or that our homes should look like that! Oh! the suffering that is caused to so many by these false suggestions! It may be harder than I imagine given there is so much exposure to marketing these days, but I will try very hard. I must also avoid favourite vintage haunts and stores and find something else to do other than browse. It is time to simplify, start over and take greater responsibility. As Carmen Harra writes in The Eleven Eternal Principles, “Well-being and contentment are Divine. Suffering and longing are man-made.”
For when we simplify our lives, we can really begin to let go of our possessions and the need to have possessions. In doing so we let go of false beliefs that possessions bring complete security. Security cannot be found in a leather chair, nor can it be found in a library of books, a car or a piece of jewellery. Real security can only be found within. If we accept that, then we can begin to change the world and steer ourselves away from endless consumption, monetary control, greed and selfishness. Getting back to basics in this ultra-material world is long overdue and it all begins with a simple act. For me that is packing my next box with a solid resolution to stop accumulating.