Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Can I Prevent Materials from Dominating My Life...If So, Can I Live Spiritually Rich and Happy?
Yes it's true that you can have too much of a good thing. Take money for instance. Although, for me this has never been an issue. We basically live paycheck to paycheck. We don't own a home. We have one new car and one '93 pick up truck with over 180,000 miles on it and the only reason we have gotten new cars for me is that we have had 2 car accident and just found the best cars for me both times to be a new car. This last car is a 2008 Honda CRV. Now we hadn't been looking for a new car or for a crossover SUV for that matter, but my 2000 Ford Focus was totalled in a head-on collision, and we began to search for a new vehicle. I have several severe joint diseases, and to be honest, the Focus was getting difficult for me to climb in and out of. Sometimes I'd get in and wasn't sure I'd be able to get out without the jaws of life...
So I continue...we have been trying to adopt for about 6 years of our almost 10 years of marriage, and have invested some money into that, but that is for a child, and who can put a monetary value on that? I do not wear or a have anything that I have bought for myself that is name-brand except a few pair of shoes, because, let's face it after years and years of wearing cheap department store shoes, your feet do cry out for "good" shoes that help your feet when they are aching with arthritis. But mostly, we do not buy ourselves much at all. So money, except to pay for our rent, medication (which is more than one can even imagine!), our car payment and upkeep, our dogs health, our own general health, food, some beauty products and self care products and cooking products, to us just doesn't dominate us!
The problem for me comes with materials in general. Stuff. I have so much stuff. Where did it come from? How did I get so much? How did it get to be so cluttered? First of all, they are materials, items, nick-knacks, things that others very close to me have given to me for some reason or another. These people love me. I love them. They gave me these things because they meant something to them, and therefore thought that it was a meaningful gift to give to me. Even my fine china was my grandmother's. We didn't purchase our china or put it on a registry. Why when we could have Gammie's? The thing is that holding onto all this stuff is just too much mentally. My husband once told me that when you hold on to all the physical stuff, you also clutter the mind. That is so true. So it doesn't have to be just about being materialistic and having money. All the stuff I have can probably be sold at the dollar store or the 99 cents store. It has no monetary value whatsoever. But for me, it has a strong hold on my heart.
Slowly, I have been packing up the stuff and either giving it away, throwing it away or putting it in storage (if it was from someone that I may never see again in this life, which is also foolish so I will get to this in a bit also). It's as though a heaviness is lifted from me. I feel lighter. The clutter in my home is less, and the clutter in my brain is less. What I am trying to learn is that I will always have the memory of that person and that gift; I don't have to keep the physical item. Surprisingly, removing the physical, lightens the load on your mind, even though it increases the memory load. Imagine that! It is going to take time for me, but I will get there a little at a time. Again, my brilliant husband told me, that it is better to do it slowly because it isn't just throwing a bunch of stuff away, it is decluttering the brain, and you can't do that too quickly or you will end up going backward. So yes it is a slow process.
I believe that it is OK to ask God for what you think you need and want out of this life. Just remember that he will only give you what you actually need. I also believe that when you do good deeds and volunteer in the community and help others, without even asking for what you need, it will be given to you. You may not get it right away, but it will come. And sometimes you really have to work for what you want, because what you want may not necessarily be what you need. So while working for what you want, you may end up with something altogether different or something even better than what you thought you wanted to begin with.
If your life isn't going the way you thought it would, don't hide from it and bury your head in the sand. That is the worst thing that you could possibly do. Life will be passing you by, opportunities will come and go and you will miss them. This is not just with money. For me, it has occurred with my chronic illness. No one thinks when they are going through life that their chronic illness will hold them back. I went to Nursing School, worked as a nurse for 6 years and then had to quit. I could have become depressed and hid from the world and cried because I couldn't be a nurse anymore. But I didn't. Instead, I began to use my illness to help others, started to understand myself more than when I wasn't sick, and became stronger than when I wasn't this weak physically. I have done more to help people now than I believe I ever did working as a paid nurse. Now I help people and don't get paid!!! Imagine that!
Finally, I want to touch on a fact I briefly mentioned earlier. All the stuff that we have whether it be money, expensive things, or my things that have cluttered my home, we cannot take with us to the Other Side when we die. It will be of no use to us over there. So why be so worried about holding on to it so tightly here? Even if we bury it with us, when we open the coffin, it will still be there along with our bones because only our spirit or our soul goes over there. Nothing physical will survive on the Other Side. It is just not needed. So just don't clutter your mind and your space with stuff and worry. Keep only what you absolutely need for survival, and a little extra for some added joy, or to maybe buy your kids something special as a treat, or to eat out or see a movie every once in a while. That is fine. Just don't overindulge!
Say to yourself daily as Sylvia Browne suggests: "I go forward and leave the past as only a memory of what I have learned."