Bleeet . . . some thoughts on stuff

I have too much stuff.  It is clogging my life like plaque in an artery.  My life has seemed clogged and cluttered at times and my surroundings seem to mimic that as well.  As if a lifetime of collecting stuff has not been enough, my parents death in 2002/03 has resulted in my inheriting of a third of their stuff.  At first, I kept this stuff close, cause it was like a piece of them.  But now, it has just become part of the clog.  I am not a hoarder.  My home is reasonable neat.  But all available spots for stuff have been filled and I have had enough.  It is like a metaphor of my life.  My life is equally full and there is not room for more.

I recently came across this verse from the Tao Te Ching:

You own nothing and no one

All that is composed will decompose

All that is yours will leave and become someone elses

Take pleasure in what you possess

Without being attached to these things

Let go of your identification with your stuff and with your accomplishments

I am not my things.  My parents are not in their things.  When my parents died their things became my things but they are not really my things because they will be passed along to someone else at some point.  If I am just temporarily holding these things and will have to give them up sooner or later, why not make it sooner so that there is less to be concerned about now?  I have begun to gain appreciation for the empty spots in my life.  The room that has little in it.  The time that is not scheduled.  The air that carries only silence.  It is in those moments where I find my mind most settled and my heart most free.

–Dan Hartman, MD

5 comments to Bleeet . . . some thoughts on stuff

  • love the Tao Te Ching quote, dr dan. (didn’t it used to be called the i ching?) i am super-aware of the evanescence of life and know that someday my kids will inherit my things. i have only recently wondered whether they should be forewarned to burn my years and years of personal diaries, many of em containing the miseries i suffered when my bipolar was raging & i was dreadfully unhappy. the temptation will be too great for my little darlings but should i care now whether or not they read em when i’m dead? ah, mortality.

  • Ruth–You might talk to them about it when you are still alive. Don’t let them read them, just talk to them about your writings. Among of the most precious items I got from my parents was hand written items. That seems ‘closer’ to them than the more anonymous things. One of the most important lessons we can give to our children and grandchildren is how we can conquer our demons. I saw my parents struggle with things and wish I knew now more of what they were thinking. As I struggle with my own life issues at times, I wish I had them to speak to. Having their diaries (not that they had them, but if they did . . . might help me in some way.

    –DH MD

  • Terry

    Hi there,

    I just “connected” with this site recently….after a lengthy up-down with situational depression (caused by a number of personal tragedies-deaths in my family) and being told recently that I may have “developed” bipolar II. sigh…. Interestingly, I suffered from temporal lobe seizure as a child (resolved as an adult, fortunately)

    I’m now “researching” for answers/solutions and find your site helpful & encouraging!!!

    This quote about “stuff” is wonderful (another of my challenges is my everincreasing “stuff”. A book you might find interesting is Cler Your Clutter with Feng Shui (by Karen Kington)

  • Bonnie

    I have many beautiful things that have drifted into my life. I enjoy most of them everyday. I feel sorry for people who just have houses full of stuff that causes them stress. One of my favorite hobbies is to go to peoples houses and help them purge themselves of useless or unused items. The easiest way to do this is to explain to them that someone else NEEDS it or very desperately can use the item. AA discarded items are then donated to local charities. Which is living the tao and the comment on this bleeet. P.S. hate this devil box, soon to be donated.

  • Bonnie–You are a wise and thoughtful person. Don’t give up the devil box. It is only a box. And it becomes a better box when it is used by someone who is wise and thoughtful. Bless You!

    –DH MD