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  • Writer's pictureAmy Clark

Attachment To Our Material Stuff

Updated: Jan 10, 2020

Decluttering, clearing out, and dis-attaching from our stuff seem to be buzzwords of the day sparked by the wildly popular book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo and her Netflix series, "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo." Kondo suggests that messes can cause unhappiness and the right kind of tidying is like psychotherapy. It can lead to internal healing. But is clearing house, paring down and starting over really that easy? Our stuff seems to represent so very much to all of us.

When faced with having to take a good hard look at our possessions in an effort to purge, we often find ourselves frozen and hotbeds of emotion at the prospect of letting go. Our material attachments seem to serve as a direct conduit to our most cherished memories. Making decisions on what to toss or hold on to can be paralyzing to many, shedding light on feelings, connections and self-revelations that heretofore have been squelched, inaccessible, and in some cases, not even visible to us.

So why do we hold on to our stuff for dear life? What is it we are really holding on to? How does our stuff serve us? Does it provide us with joy? Kondo suggests our stuff needs to provide us with joy if we're going to keep it. Can ridding ourselves of the stuff imbued in the nooks and crannies of our lives, lead us to re-creating the "new" in our lives?

The ladies in our Circles had these thoughts to share:

* We are deeply linked to our stuff through our stories and our memories--("I bought that beautiful hat on my honeymoon!") Keeping our stuff around helps us to evoke our memories

* The value of our stuff represents personal and emotional investment

* Our stuff preserves our legacy--with it we can spread our love

* Historically, we use objects like memorial plaques, medals, even edifices like the Taj Mahal and other memorabilia to remind us of our loved ones' accomplishments and permanence.

* Our stuff is a manifestation of our personal creations and represents what's important to us

* We are consumers from birth in our culture, taught that collecting stuff is a good thing

* For many, purchasing power gives us a momentary high--it represents fun, empowerment, freedom, control, status, abundance etc

* We can pass on our stuff to others in need and spread the joy and the love

* For some, stuff fills perceived voids in their lives

Buddhists teach that the source of happiness exists outside of material things and joy from material objects is often short lived and leads to fear of letting go.

Whatever your opinions are, the reality is at some point in our lives we all have to take stock of our material stuff. Have you asked yourselves how attached you are to yours? Do you anticipate detaching will bring you inner peace, harmony, joy and self -connection? Have you had success with decluttering and letting go?

We'd love to hear your thoughts below. I'm sure that your input will resonate and help others on their "clearing out" paths.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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