Today, I want to talk about “things”. We’ve all got ‘em. Whether your things are bright and shiny and new … or they’re well loved antiques and collectibles. Whether they’re in jewelry boxes, display cases, and living rooms or they’re cluttering up drawers, closets and garages.
THEY OWN YOU!
Have you ever thought about that? Over the last few years I’ve given that a great amount of thought. I had a beautiful home, filled with beautiful things. Things I “loved”. Things I’d collected. Decorating was my passion and I had THINGS! Lots and lots of things.
Things that kept me tied down, emotionally and physically. At 50 years old, I took a look back at my life, knowing I still had many good years ahead of me and really examined what was important to me. What were the best times? And you know what I found? The best of times on my list were the times I spent with family and friends.
It was a Christmas trip to New York City with my sister, where we saw 8 Broadway plays in 7 days, had amazing meals, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences! We still talk about it.
It was the two week Tahiti cruise that I got to take with my brother. We swam with sharks, drank coconut milk at roadside stands, snorkeled off black sand beaches and made memories. It was, hands down, the best two weeks I’ve ever spent with my brother.
My adventurous 70+ parents at our last Christmas at my house before I sold everything.
It was the many trips my sister and I treated my mom to… Key West, Puerta Vallarta, the Bahamas, NYC, and even a cross country trip. Our mom is such an amazing friend, now in her mid-70’s, and we cherish the special, extraordinary times we’ve been able to spend with her and we look forward to many more.
So back to “things”. I realized they were no where on my list of what had brought me the most joy in my life, and yet I’d spent more money on them than I had on all of the amazing experiences combined.
That’s when it came to me.
I wanted my life to be all about amazing experiences and NOT “things”. So I set out to create a plan. I sold everything I owned and bought a motorhome. By then, my parents had been full-time RV-er’s for two years and I was ready to hit the road and start living my life-by-design!
At first, opening up my home and putting everything up for sale was difficult. It was tough selling my “things” for a small fraction of what I’d paid for them. In the beginning it was exciting to see things going out the door.
About 1/3 of the way through what turned out to be a three month process, I felt a sadness at seeing most of the artwork off of my walls, some of the furniture gone, things I had hand-picked and prized walking out the door and I still hadn’t found the perfect-for-me motorhome.
About ½ way through, I felt more excitement and more panic! What if I’d made the wrong decision? I could never afford to replace all the “things” I’d sold for pennies on the dollar.
By the ¾ mark, I just wanted it to be over with. I still hadn’t found the perfect-for-me motorhome yet – the one that would fit my minimal budget and would feel like home to this brand new fulltime RV-er. I began to panic about where I was going to live if it didn’t show up soon.
When we came down to the last two weekends of sales, my home was 95% empty and I had really released most of the “things” – the energy – of what had had a firm grasp on my life. All of a suddent, the perfect-for-me motorhome appeared. My dad found it actually and called me to take a look. I knew immediately that it felt right … I’d found my new home!
I’D FOUND MY NEW FREEDOM!
From the moment I released what was left of my house and my “things” — bringing with me only those things that really mattered to me; the clothing I’d really wear (not the two closets and two dressers full that barely saw the light of day), the camera’s to capture the experiences, the laptop to stay connected, and the Christmas ornaments, family photo’s and momento’s that mattered — and my Vita-mix blender, of course … and I climbed into my RV, I felt a sense of FREEDOM unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.
I felt like the weight of the world had been released from my shoulders. Truth is, I never had the weight of the world on my shoulders, but being owned by “things” – beautiful “things”, but “things” none the less – is what had weighed me down. Trapped me. Kept me enslaved. Kept me working just to pay for their existence and upkeep.
I now know what freedom feels like and I embrace it!
WHY AM I SHARING THIS WITH YOU NOW?
I’m not suggesting that you need to sell your things and hit the road to be free. But I am suggesting wellness isn’t just about your diet, or ridding your home of toxins – both of which are extremely important – it’s also about emotional wellness and financial wellness.
I’m suggesting that you examine your life and decide what you’ve valued the most. I’d be willing to bet you it will be the experiences you’ve had with your family. Those moments of unrestrained laughter; the picnics and the parks; the hugs and the cuddles; the Eskimo kisses and knowing glances; the quality time you’ve shared.
WE LIVE IN A BUSY, BUSY WORLD
I was on the world-go-round – doing all the things we do – and emotionally crying out for freedom. I found my path. Yours will probably be different, but I want to encourage you to step back and decide if you’re really willing to be owned by things. If you want to keep giving your hard earned money to the big box stores, imported junk, and masterful marketing that dictates what will make you happy – and you know it never does – not for more than a moment anyway.
Take a minute, or a day, or a month – or however long it takes — and decide what really fills your emotional space. When we’re running on empty, emotionally, we try to fill the space with whatever gives us a quick fix, be it food, shopping, reality TV, drugs, alcohol – you name your “filler” of choice – and then realize it’s always a temporary fix, at best. Am I right? Or am I right?
IT’S NOT WHAT YOU’RE EATING – IT’S WHAT’S EATING YOU
I think that might have been the title of a book I read many years ago – and if it wasn’t, it should have been because it’s a brilliant truth!
What are you really missing in your emotional life? “Things” aren’t the answer. Today’s encouragement is to start clearing out the clutter in your life to make room for the goodness you want to come into it. Stop buying “things” to fill a space that “things” can never fill for more than a moment.
LIVE YOUR LIFE BY DESIGN
Your life should be designed by you, not by some marketer somewhere who wants to tell you how it should be lived.
Don’t know where to start? Let me share my life design…
I choose to live my life on purpose, by design, with vision, integrity, and love.
I choose to be well! My motto is “Life Is An Adventure – Live It Well” … that includes physically, environmentally, financially, and personally.
I choose to greet each day with gratitude.
I choose financial abundance by helping others reach their goals – not by using other people to reach my goals.
I choose experiences over things – 100% of the time!
I choose faith, love and happiness!
If there is anything, or any person, in conflict with my life-by-design, then I bless it/them and release it/them back into the universe — making more room in my life for good experiences, good people, and wellness.
I AM INSPIRED BY MANY THINGS
Each morning, I start my day by reading from a favorite daily devotional called Hours of Power by Robert Schuller. It always speaks to my heart and each daily reading is either a message I need to hear — or I know of someone else who needs to hear it and I share it with them.
Today’s message was so powerful to me that it prompted this post. I hope it speaks to the heart that needs to hear this today…
The Tyranny of Things – by Robert Schuller
“Materialism does not satisfy because it is tyrannical, and the human being was born to be free! We all know about the tyranny of things. We find that we don’t own a house – the house owns us. We are married to a mortgage. We become slaves to gadgets and garments. After we have all our “things” purchased, delivered, and installed, and have enjoyed a fleeting sense of pleasure, we find that they are still dominating, dictating and demanding. “Press me, polish me, patch me, paint me, prune me, plaster me, repair me,” they shout. So we spend the best years of our lives and the bulk of our money working for “things,” until discouraged and depressed, we discover that we have no time left to pursue life’s really enjoyable avocations: visiting friends, having fun, and, yes, even going to church regularly. Thus mastered by materialism, tyrannized by things, we have no time left to do the deeds, or see the places, or visit the people, that would really give us great inner joy.”
Amen! That was my experience. How about you? What’s your experience? Please leave your comments and let’s start a conversation J
Peace, Freedom, and Living Smaller to Live Larger,