Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Exceptional Gain through Loss

A little over eight months ago, I did something radical. I got rid of stuff. Doesn't sound so earth-shattering perhaps, but for me, it was more than just filling a few boxes for a garage sale.  Instead, it was renewal and a rebirth of sorts.

Clutter breeds chaos, and chaos breeds inertia. Who can think, or plan, or even just effectively function when a world of goods is virtually tumbling down around our feet? No, I'm not a hoarder. Material goods were not actually cluttering the floors of my home. But the truth is, though my life is simple in many ways, I had collected far too much.

How many cookbooks does one really need? And that stack of old magazines with all those clever suggestions for home organization? Yes, well...we see how far that went. Truth is, I had taken a hard look around my home and was disgusted by the collection of useless items I had accumulated. I mean, really, what is the point?

I suspect the point is diversion. Though we don't admit it to ourselves easily, we often try to find diversion from the empty and cloaked corners of our lives; the dark shadows we'd prefer to ignore. We cover those spaces up, preferring instead to focus on the bright, new, shiny bits we stack up in front of them. Trouble is, the shiny bits lose their luster with time and we work to replace them, faster and faster, to avoid the reality of what lies just behind.

Failing marriage? New piece of jewelry might divert our attention for a while. Eating too much? Perhaps some new drapes for the house before the gigantic T.V. is installed. Lonely? The newest tech gadget lures with the promise of connectedness.

We need things to live in this world, that's true. But we need far less than we imagine we do. The stuff of our lives can come to rule us and nearly stop us in our tracks when it comes to forward movement. Sometimes, we resort to surrounding ourselves with toys just to assure ourselves, and others, that we're okay. Diversion.

Perhaps it's time to cast a few things off and take a peek into those dark corners. When we lose "stuff," we gain focus, and often find energy. Energy to pour into personal growth, into relationships, and into the things that really matter.

It's Spring just now, right before the heat of summer sets in. Maybe it's a good time to test the theory. I challenge you to empty your life of some useless "stuff" and breathe in renewed energy as light floods all the corners once again. Let me know how it works for you!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a closet to sort out...

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