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Freedom from Stuff

Posted by Sue on Jul 10, 2013  

Last week we celebrated Independence Day.

In our little village of 600, we have a huge parade, complete with a float from the Grange (one year they had live sheep and a goat riding along looking confused), the local middle school band (who won first place this year), a fife and drum corps, a dozen fire trucks blasting their horns and, of course, Morris dancers with their flowered hats and jingling bells: altogether, a grand celebration of our collective freedoms.

For the last couple years I’ve wanted to put together an additional float to celebrate one more freedom: Freedom from Stuff. Too often we imprison our aspirations, goals and joy behind walls of too much stuff. But when we can let go of what has become stale and useless and too heavy to carry, we’re able to see through to what is truly important.

Years ago, to get in shape for a backpacking trip, I loaded my pack full of large rocks and bricks until it weighed 40 pounds, which is what I’d be carrying on the trail, and headed for the hills. But this was the first hike of the season, and I wasn’t ready to shoulder that much weight. I struggled to keep up with the rest of the (far wiser) hikers and missed the amazing vistas – soaring hawks and tumbling waterfalls – because all I could focus on was my aching back and legs. After a couple miles, I gave into reason (and a blister forming on my heel) and unloaded the pack. Despite the blister, the remaining miles were blissful. Without the rocks to weigh me down, I felt like I could fly.

I get a similar sense of freedom each time I let go more of the heavy load of stuff that accompanies my life. If I could redeem the many hours each month I clean, organize, move around and manage the stuff of my life, I would be rich in brownie points.

I think I’d trade them in for a set of wings and soar with those hawks.

Celebrate your freedom: unload your heavy pack and soar along with me!

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