A while ago I wrote about non-attachment. In fact I got so excited about the topic that I added another post straight after. I guess we can say I got a little bit attached to the whole thing. How I regret that now.
You know, it’s really easy to write about things. To make it sound as if you knew what you’re talking about. Ha! Big words, small means. Had I known at the time what was in store for me, I guess I would have kept quiet.
So on Saturday, I’m moving to Australia. Do you remember this game we played when we were kids, trying to think of what we would take with us on a remote island? (Sorry, Aussies… of course remote depends on where you are, right?).
I wish I could see it with as much serenity and composure as my mum does: “Well, you’re just moving from a small island to a bigger one, no?” (Sorry, UK – of course you’re not that tiny…) Or at least with as much calmness as my fiancé does: “Darling, that’s all just stuff.”
Did I mention that neither of them practises yoga? Sigh. I know it’s all just stuff. But it’s my stuff. My memories. Stuff I’ve spent years collecting, cherishing, books I love, clothes I like… Why the hell was I all these years sweating on my mat, focusing on my drishti, chanting, praying, lighting incense, travelling to India, staying at ashrams, all these hours of pranayama – if I’m not even able to pack a suitcase and move abroad?
In one of my yoga books it said about accumulating possessions that of course we don’t need nearly as much as we think we do, and that even the books we read will stop serving their purpose once we’ve finished reading them and don’t need to be kept. I think it was a very wise Swami saying this, but I can’t recall which one – I must have given the book away.
So that’s one book less. Just about 100 remaining, and that’s after loads of them have already found their way into charity shops. Yeah, don’t tell me about all these great strategies to get rid of things. I’ve read them all, including packing stuff in boxes and if after three months you can’t remember what’s in there – throw away without opening.
The truth is, that I’ve asked myself all these questions about any of the items: Does it serve a purpose? When was the last time I used/wore this? Why did I buy this? Will I need this in the future? Even if the answer is “NO” every single time, I am still attached.
I recently spoke to a friend about this, and she said: “I’m so happy I moved around with my company paying the shipping. I just kept everything. My things make me feel grounded.” That’s it. Feeling grounded. Moving is unsettling enough. Uprooting. If we don’t have our stuff to keep us grounded, what’s going to happen?
And here we have the root of the problem: It’s easy to define yourself by what you own. Your stuff, your clothes, your furniture, your books. You know how we check out a bookshelf in a stranger’s house to learn a bit about “who they are”? If that’s gone, who are we?
Luckily I have my yoga practice which stays with me no matter where I go. The practice does keep me grounded. It teaches me more to live from my core, and less through external things.
Anyway, before I get all philosophical and start whining again about my blue top which I don’t manage to part with, let me re-read my older posts and maybe roll out the mat and do my practice (before sorting through more stuff, that is).
What would you take with you to the other side of the world?
Your very attached