The Project Begins
There's more to say about my struggle with things and my journey towards letting go, but I'm giving myself a year to say it, here. So for now I'll just talk about this project as I am envisioning it.
The upshot: from 07/07/06 till 07/07/07 I intend to get rid of 7 things a week.
The guidelines: I will sell, donate, give away, or recycle these seven things (in very rare cases, I may decide to throw something away, but I intend to be very strict with myself about keeping waste to a minimum). Every Saturday, I will post the Saturday Seven, a picture list of the seven things I got rid of that week, along with an explanation of how long I've had these things, what made it hard to get rid of them, and what I chose to do with them. I will also record periodic musings about stuff and my attachment to it, along with anything I am learning from this experiment.
The rationale: I want to more fully embrace simplicity. I don't mean simplicity in terms of "convenience" (a notion which often leads to buying more stuff because the stuff seems to promise to save us time and make life easier). I mean simplicity in terms of becoming less attached to things, less driven by an acquisitional anxiety, more attuned to the needs of others, and more attentive to ecological sustainability. I believe that this kind of simplicity leads to contentment, spaciousness (physically, as my space becomes less cluttered, but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually), sensitivity, and generosity.
Because I have so much stuff cluttering my life, it is difficult to know where to begin. It overwhelms and paraylzes me. But I think I can get rid of seven things as a time. And after a year, 350+ things will be gone. I chose seven because it seemed like a just right kind of number - not too easy but not so difficult that I would be tempted to quit within a month. Seven made sense also since I'm doing this weekly - there may be weeks when the best thing for me to do is pick one thing a day to get out of my life. Plus, in my religious tradition, seven is a sacred number representing fullness and completion. [Since the number 7 seemed important to me for this project, I decided to start on 7/7 and end on 7/7/07. It just seemed fitting.]
One of the many issues arounds material things for me is my emotional attachment. I am very sentimental about my stuff. I think it may be easier to get rid of some of it if I have a record, with pictures, to tell the story of the mark these things made on my life, and the reasons I have held on to them.
The invitation: I imagine I'm not the only one holding on to so many things that need to be let go. So I invite anyone who is interested to join me weekly in getting rid of seven things. Every Saturday, when I post my Saturday Seven, I invite you to post your own seven on your blog and then come over here and let me know. I think it would be great to have a whole little online community of folks striving towards a simpler life. Maybe we can help each other to live more lightly. Please join me!