Clear Out that Storage!

I made a trek over to my storage locker today.  While I wasn’t looking forward to all the schlepping planned, I was savouring the notion of getting rid of more stuff.   When I gave up my relentlessly troublesome apartment over a year ago, I decided to quite ruthlessly dispense with the majority of my belongings. I vividly remember the feeling at the time, as I studied my fading collection of IKEA’s greatest hits from 20 years ago - my Flügelblund TV/stereo/VCR stand, a cluster of dusty Fettbaken CD racks, a creaky Fulsäng futon/couch on its last limbs -  that I didn’t even like any of it anymore (with no offense intended to IKEA, who taught me the intoxicating joys of the Allen key).  So a blanket decree was issued to myself that EVERYTHING MUST GO. Don’t think about it. Just leave it all outside, where the scavengers will swiftly drag it deep into the bowels of the apartment complex, and WALK AWAY. The things I couldn’t seem to part with were banished to a tiny storage locker in a distant but accessible location a ways down the Danforth.

It was tough giving up my apartment and my stuff.  With rental prices seeming more like downtown Dubai than Toronto, would I ever be able to live alone again?  And just about everything I collected and kept with me for the last 30 years, things that seemed important, were gone.  Was I now supposed to just grab a bindle (it’s not dirty, look it up), ride the CN rail and sing King of the Road?!!  Although I did feel freer, I also felt like a huge victim. Am I homeless?!  How could this happen to me?!! Me?? Our hero?!!

I was being told it was time for me to look more closely at my attachments.  All the things we (often desperately) cling to in this world.  The thought that you NEED something (or someone) in particular to make or keep you happy.  What I discovered, as I lived my new nomad-chic lifestyle, was that I always had everything I needed at any given time.  And if I didn’t have it, I didn’t need it.  Whenever I feel anxious, I like to take a little inventory of the present moment...right now, for example, I have a computer, I’ve got wifi, I’ve got a cup of tea, I’ve got clothes, I’ve got clothes under my clothes, I’m sitting in a beautiful condo that I’m renting from a friend, I’ve got inspiring Yuletide music going, and I’ve got all of you exquisite friends to be with (even electronically)...It’s an embarrassment of riches!  Always. I’ve never taken an inventory and found myself anything but living in glorious abundance! I’ve got everything I need. And everything else I can let go of without stress.

Attachments always lead to fear.  Brrrr. Chilly. Cause stuff in this world just plain doesn’t last!  The possessions we treasure disintegrate. Our beautiful cars rust. Buildings become dilapidated and houses ramshackle. We continuously chase new stuff to make ourselves happy, but it’s always only temporary. You can keep knockin’ on the door, but there’s no real happiness at home there (even if some of the lights are on and you swear you can hear the television).

The reason attachments are so fear-inducing is because, in truth, we’re attached to the thoughts about our stuff MORE than the actual stuff.  Spoooooky, hey?  And when we’re attached to a judgment, an opinion, or a false belief, like, “if I could only get a new car, life would get a lot easier,” or “if I could lose 5 pounds and clearly see that danged oblique muscle, I’d finally feel good about myself,” or “if my mother stopped continuously asking me if I’m eating enough, despite the fact I’m 20 pounds heavier than I normally am, we’d have a beautiful relationship;” we are longing for things that will never make us truly happy.  Our judgments, opinions and false beliefs about ourselves and others separate us from each other (painful), they separate us from love (oh god, more pain), and we feel afraid because we’re out of alignment with love, and because nothing of this world that we’re chasing will ever last. Fwoof.

The only thing that lasts is love.  That’s it. So let’s let go of our attachments with love!  Yay! Let’s choose again! We’re so addicted to pondering the stuff we had in the past, or daydreaming about stuff that we think we want in the future, that we forget to look around right now and see we always have everything we need in the moment. And it’s a pretty sweet moment at that.

All that to say, when I was clearing out my storage yesterday, I was actually clearing out my mind. And it felt GREAT.

EPILOGUE:  When you go to the Timmy’s for that mini-strudel you love and they’re out of them and it ruins your whole day, it’s time to let go of that attachment. If there’s strudel, great; if not, a fruit explosion muffin is good, too! Sweet peace!

I definitely am attached to loving you all!!  And I won’t give that up for anything!!!

J. Sean Elliott