I don’t know if I can pull a Gandhi, and have all my belongings in a back pack, but I sure want to begin to make life more simple and more clutter free, materially and spiritually.
What to keep, what to give away, what to throw out: When my physical space, my living space is in order, I will physically and spiritually feel better
We started in November 2014. We started with our cars. We have had two vehicles for a long time and it was getting expensive. We downsized from two vehicles to one. I ended up using public transit and still do. That was our beginning to changing how we live. Then I was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and we just tried to hang on until we knew what was going on. Now that I am currently cancer free and in recovery, Lori and I are doing what we can to remove clutter from our lives, from our own, and downsize where we need to downsize.
When it comes to thinking about the future, there is nothing like the present. Some thinkers who think about the future end up being paralyzed by the present and immobilized to even consider what to do about the future. We find ourselves always dreaming about the future, be it a better job, a bigger house, traveling or going back to school. We always seem to be looking ahead, as if the future is guaranteed for us. We have no such guarantees in life. Some of us will battle illnesses that will totally throw our lives into a tizzy. Some of us will develop chronic illnesses due to our sedentary lifestyles we have developed in this Postmodern society, of less movement, more stationary life, more visual stimulation through TV, handheld streaming devices, and the sheer mental exhaustion of a busy work day, which drives us to physical inactivity just to escape and cope the stressors of life.
As we age we should be looking at downsizing
My wife has been a passionate clean-a-holic since I have known her. She has the goal of eventually getting the car into the garage. I don’t know if that goal will ever be met, but it is one that we can aspire to. It will meaning getting rid of a sizeable amount of books, family heirlooms, and other things. Nothing we can’t handle, but it is always an issue when items have sentimental value. Letting go of things is a real challenge for some of us, as it means reconciling the past, and letting go of the past and fully embracing the present.
I have so many books with so much meaning wrapped up in them
I am a collector of books. I have a few really old books. They are from the 1680’s and 1730’s. I have other books that were part of my growing up, books that I bought with my allowance and then books that I bought with my paycheck when I got my first job mowing lawns. Books were the things that kept me a dreamer and opened up my imagination to foreign lands and to times of past glory. I love the study of history, of recalling the exploits of men and women and nations that rallied around a cause. I love the history of battles that determined the fate of not only nations but civilizations. I love biblical history, the history of empires, and military history and historical biographies, of shakers and movers. These are the books that will be my greatest challenge to be rid of, to pass on to others, to sell and empty my bookshelf of. But it is a thing that I must do. I must find the will to act and do what I need to do.
Downsizing in clothing and books is my necessary action at this time in my life
When I look at all that I have, it is at times astounding. So, goal will be to get down to five hundred books. I know to people with a few books here and there, that appears to be a monstrous amount of books. Believe me, it is not. I have over four thousand books. Getting rid of three thousand five hundred books is going to take some doing on my part. I expect many tears. I expect much angst at the parting of ways between myself and the sentimental value some of these books have for me. I know at first it will be very difficult, but I will do it, as I must. It would be an undue burden to my wife and my adult daughters to deal with. It would be totally selfish of me to let them sort it all out after I am gone. I don’t want to do that. So I will do this myself, and it will be therapeutic for me to do so.
It won’t be only the books, but the clothing that must go. There are not too many articles of clothing that I am overly attached to. I have a weakness for t-shirts, and it is a weakness I have passed on to my daughters. So all the fuss is going to be on which t-shirts to keep and which ones to let go off. When it comes to shirts and trousers it will be somewhat easier. I want to trim my closet down to five pairs of pants and two pairs of jeans, and a track suit, some dress shirts, a couple of sweaters, a couple of blazers and that is it. All the rest will have to go. My largest articles of clothing will be my socks and t-shirts. I want to reduce that load by over half of what I currently have. This is going to both a challenge and fun. It is amazing how you feel in shedding clothes. I wish shedding weight was that easy!
When my physical space, my living space is in order, I will physically and spiritually feel better
I know the greatest benefit for me will be how my living space will feel renewed, and I will personally feel that renewal in my physical being and in my spiritual self. When the clutter is gone, the spiritual clutter will begin to decline and the inward journey will be an easier undertaking to embrace. I know I will be able to focus on what is important.
Downsizing from the spirituality that ain’t working and ditching it
When it comes to what you keep, what you give away and what you throw out, I can most definitely say the same thing when it comes to spirituality. That word is such an ambiguous word that is beyond human definition, and it is easy to use, because you can make it mean any kind of spirituality. But I can be more precise. When something that you once believed in no longer works, you have to come to the end of yourself and let it go. You have to determine what is good and healthy for you, and when something is no longer healthy to your own well being emotionally, spiritually, philosophically and theologically, you just have to find it in your gut, to just reject it and let it go!
I was raised on a stable theology, and ended up embracing all things charismatic and weird, resulting in bad religion and I am done with it
I don’t even believe in religion. Religion is indeed the opiate of the people. People overdose all the time on religion and it controls them and compels them to do things most sane people would never contemplate on doing. Don’t get me wrong. I love Jesus Christ more than I have ever loved him before. I am devoted to him and a disciple of him, and following him more closely than I have ever done before. But I do not like the church system at all. In fact I don’t like religious people very much at all. I don’t like the fixation on correct belief over loving people. I don’t like the emphasis on meetings and more meetings, and finding no end to them. I don’t like sermons much any more either. They are filled more with men’s ideas than they are God’s. I don’t like the manipulation of the true body of Christ, and hijacking those people for a political cause or political party, all in the name of morality and values, which totally obscures and distorts loving other people. I have had my fill of really awful Charismatic Christianity.
My life was pretty good when I was a quiet Pentecostal. It was when I left the Evangelical Anabaptist church that my spiritual life got messed up. It was a twenty-five year hiatus in the “wilderness of confusion and delusion.” I cannot believe the garbage I got involved with, all in the name of “being led by the Spirit.” I am done with the quaking and shaking, rolling on the floor, other weird manifestations, fire tunnels, love tunnels, feathers floating, gold teeth, mana, oil, and the list goes on and on. I am done with it all.
I just want Jesus. Plain and simple. I want Jesus without the weird. This will be the ultimate ridding of clutter and junk. This will be the ultimate downsizing. I am downsizing my spirituality. And it starts today.
~ Samuel M. Buick