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Feature Story

“Spring Cleaning”

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Accumulating unneeded belongings can lead to many obstacles in life.

With the beginning of any calendar’s new year, people are filled with a motivation to clean house. Out with the old and in with the new. It is easy to relate to the feeling of needing to let go of past things in order to get to the next frontier in life. Traveling through life, many items are collected along the way. Spring is often the season when those collections are reviewed. Dust is blown off and time is spent reminiscing. Why do individuals continue to hold on to the past this way?

People raised in the modern world are conditioned to create strong emotional ties to physical things: clothes, jewelry, cars, trophies, etc. All over the country, there are millions of closets, garages, and boxes filled to the brim with things that may not have been given any attention in years, yet, there is resistance to letting them go. The government will even call people to hoard documents for years and years out of some fear that it may be needed “one day”. That tends to be a common rationalization for refusing to shed excess items. Sometimes, there is a dream that the item may be used one day. Letting it go may mean admitting that there is some experience that will never happen and that can be very painful to accept. These items become consolation prizes. They are the trophies to provide compensation for missing out on a particular experience and they provide the illusion of hope.

The reality is, there are many experiences that will be desired but are not meant for the individual’s destiny. When a person cannot accept that, they are trying to force life to bend to their own will based on their current preferences and desires. When those desires are projected, it sets limitations for the individual. Whatever the existence would like to present gets denied because it doesn’t fit with the standard the individual has already imposed. What is not being considered is opportunities that may be much greater that are getting rejected due to the individual’s closed-mindedness. In contrast, the goal should be to allow their destiny to set the standard while they work to fit harmoniously with that standard.

Another reason to let go of excess things, and probably the more obvious, is the lack of the mobility that comes with carrying around so much. It becomes a burden that keeps people weighed down. For example, one may research their Ancestral roots and be able to trace their origins back to Africa. That realization stirs a fascination and inspiration to complete their search by going to the continent. However, when brainstorming how this can become a reality, all of these “problems” come up regarding their money and their things. The original idea becomes so convoluted with reasons why the trip would be far too difficult to take. Finally, a trip to Africa gets shelved as something that may happen “one day”.

There is a story about a lady who explains how she was able to pay off $52,000 of student loan debt by packing up her life and moving with her husband to Bali, Indonesia. Due to the dramatic difference in living expenses and having the ability to work remotely, she was able to make much higher loan payments and was able to free herself from debt slavery. This was not something that would have been feasible to her assessment had she stayed in America. She expressed her challenges with reeling in her lifestyle dramatically, in order to ensure her freedom. When she finally let go, she was able to propel herself to debt freedom in nine months. This story illustrates what can be revealed once the things being held on to are released. America gives the perception to the majority of the world that it is the land of opportunity. There are people in Indonesia who would love the chance to live in the Big Apple. However, this woman was able to find her freedom by leaving New York to move to Bali where she and her husband could be “comfortable, happy, and fulfilled.”

A material cleanse requires honesty and intelligence. There are professionals who provide generalized advice to assist people with confronting their hoarding tendencies. For example, if an item has not been used in three years, throw it away. However, this is a hasty judgment and a robotic way of thinking which provides an out for a person from dealing with whatever emotions might be causing them to hold on to all of these items in the first place. A cleanse will require courage and perseverance. Each item will need to be carefully scrutinized. Does this serve this current position in life? Does this support the overall life goal? Is this redundant to other items already attained? Is this constructive? Questions like these provide a filter that will be very helpful in decluttering.

There are television shows that discuss hoarding as an expression of mental health issues. People have emotional breakdowns when forced to let go of their items. In many cases, people live undisturbed by living in their own filth and are so comforted by their things. These are extreme cases, however, it takes a lot of courage to face whatever it is that is pushing them to hold on so tightly to things. It is not easy to let go. The emotional ties empower the item to mean much more than it does physically. The representation may be the more difficult thing to surrender. As mentioned earlier, the attachments that are being valued so high may be the exact thing blocking a person from reaching their true potential and meeting their destiny.

It is the time of year where people feel the most receptive to the idea of letting things go. Hopefully upon reflection on this article, meditations will reveal more to the reader regarding their own challenges with holding onto material things and prepare their mind to release anything acting as an anchor to their personal growth. It is important to remember that change is not going to happen overnight. However, every step forward is progress. This activity of minimizing the things in the home will take courage, persistence, honesty, and intelligence. None of those things are easy but they are attainable as long as something else is present: patience. Patience with one’s self and their surroundings is essential to creating change. There is a Gourmantche proverb that says “the one who is looking for knowledge is like an arrow shot towards the sun. If that arrow ever touches the sun, it will not come back; but if it touches the sun and comes back to Earth, it will no longer be an arrow. “ There is nothing more valuable to a human being than knowledge of self. The change required for this are not quick and painless but, if it is achieved, it will be proof that it was worth all of the effort that was given.

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