Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Purge

In our journey to living our new dream, we chose to abandon much of our old life. Not because we’re super dangerous fugitives on the run who can’t leave behind a trail for the deadly international assassins in pursuit, but because it is this shedding of the unimportant material items that will allow us to focus on the important things in life.  Remember how I said that the reaction to our new dream life was somewhere along the lines of, “For real?!?!?!….”  This abandoning of "traditional" life filled with things and possessions is the part that baffles the minds of most. As if once upon a time people did not live or survive, let alone thrive without a sticks and stones house(will get to that later) filled to the brim with clothes, toys, shoes, electronics, gadgets, nicknacks and I don’t even know what this little thing with the hook goes to anymore.  But it took me a long time, nearly a year, to gather the courage to actually begin the purge. 

It began with the spiritual realization that I was way too attached to my belongings. In a series of events that led to me moving back to Alabama, some items were lost in the move. In unpacking my son’s items, I searched for my son’s foam alphabet mats and was distraught when I realized somehow they hadn’t made the trip. At this point my son is walking and running and really in no need of the mats but I was so upset over the loss of $20 mats. He had other items in which to learn the alphabet with and was no longer crawling or tumbling. Yet, I was a hair short of devastated with the loss of them while he hadn’t even noticed.

I had written some blogs about materialism and the need for detachment of ourselves from possessions. Despite my understanding of this, I was unable to do so. I felt pressure from my family, friends, even society to make things a certain way. Each step I took in that direction, the farther I felt from God and the person He intended me to be. It is not the actual stuff that keeps you from Him, it is the worries, anxiety, lust and desire that accompanies the stuff. So rather than feel tied to the stuff, feel anxiety over having the stuff or fear of losing the stuff, we began the process of getting rid of all unnecessary stuff.

So, what is necessary? Well, that depends on the individual. As a family, we decided shelter, food and clothing were the top priorities. As we like to be idealist, we are not trying to return to the stone age and also kept minimal but practical tools and gadgets. We also added a few creature comforts of technology, as blogging is therapeutic for me, Que loves movies and we understand the importance of play to Kaeden’s development. We did however sell everything else and what couldn’t be sold was given away.

If you ever want to discover how attached you are to material items, hold a yard sale where people haggle for a few bucks off your treasures. It will really shock you how difficult it is to part with these "things" that don't add much value to your life other than taking up space in your home even when you think you "prepare" yourself. Despite knowing that letting go and ridding your life of all the unnecessary things, to know and do are two very different things. Giving away what didn't sell, was much easier. Maybe, it was knowing that the people needed the items given that made it easier or maybe it was that I had already undergone the harsh process of selling. 

When the purge was over, the feeling of unease had subsided and was replaced by both relief and excitement. It was a great relief to have the weight of our materialism off our shoulders. The promise of adventure and the unknown was thrilling. I no longer felt the impending doom or pressure from previous stressors like landlords, costly obligations, or possible job loss. While I know our life will not be perfect, we will feel more free to pursuit happiness, what ever that may be without the stress and pressure these "things" and obligation bring.

Join us on our journey of the pursuit of our new dream as we discover life, self, nature and beauty.

Below are some quotes we found helpful to keep motivated to break the common mold:

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success. – John Rockefeller

They will say you are on the wrong road if it is your own. –Antonio Porchia

High-fiving people who share your beliefs is easy. What is hard is allowing others to have a different opinion without attempting to silence them. -Duane Alan Hahn

People would rather be wrong than be different. Henry Jacobsen

Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.- Alan Keightley

Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion. –Charles Kuralt

People should think things out fresh and not just accept conventional terms and the conventional way of doing things.- R. Buckminster Fuller

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been. –Alan Ashley Pitt

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