I’m moving from a city-sized apartment to a one-room cabin in the woods. Although I thought I was already living small, I’m going to be living smaller! I’m pretty sure that 14 x 16 feet qualifies as a tiny home. It means that everything has to be carefully planned for function and efficiency. There won’t room for any extra “stuff”. It means that I have to Let Go.
As I began the sorting process, I started to set things aside that might net some income from selling them. I soon realized that this was just another form of attachment. I would have to store the items, value them at a reasonable price, and find people to buy them. In the mean time, I would still have them. I had to let go of this back-door way of holding on materially.
I started giving it away. An artist received three dozen pairs of earrings, wrapped in paper towel and stuffed in a ziplock bag. I put furniture out at the end of the driveway with a “Take Me” sign. I eliminated 2/3 of the clothing in my closet, and sent three giant trash bags to the second-hand store. I donated a hundred books to the library. I’m nowhere near done, but the more I do, the more I want to do. It’s very freeing.
I feel like a new flow has opened up in my being. There are two parts to giving away. There is both the giving and the away. The giving is a heart-open process. I saw someone come to the end of the driveway and sit in each of the chairs, trying them out like Goldilocks. A big grin spread across their face when they landed in the one that fit just right. A little girl came by and left with a basket of flower petals, fairy-dancing away with her good fortune. It makes me happy to see these people happy, to give freely without them even knowing who is doing the giving.
And then there is the away. This material stuff is leaving my life. A few days after the trash bags went to the second-hand store, I fretted a little that I had gotten rid of too much. What about that lime green shirt with the sparkles on it? Maybe I really did want that? But it was gone. Gone, gone, gone, and not coming back. Thank goodness. If I had time to take things back, I’d be stuck with them again!
In some indigenous cultures, there is something called a Give Away that occurs after death. When a person dies, their material goods are kept for one year and then it is all given away. I have been at pow-wow when all of a man’s pants and shoes and underwear and coats are laid out in a ceremony, and everyone is asked to come and take something. There should be nothing left for the family to take home. It’s a way to lighten the attachment of the family, after a prescribed period of mourning, while also sharing useful gifts with the community.
It’s not the same, but I am participating in another kind of give-away, and it feels wonderful.