Saturday, December 8, 2012

on letting go


When I was a child, I used to save shiny little candy wrappers in an old shoe box. Mostly made of colored foil, I would take care not to rip the wrapper when removing the candy. I'd then smooth the foil out gently, admire it, and place it in my treasure box. It seems many of us have a tendency to want to keep or hold onto beautiful things or things we find uniquely special. I hardly even looked at my wrappers, but there was comfort knowing I rescued something beautiful from the trash, and that it was mine.

Possessions - how easily and innocently they turn into comfort or obsessions. And how much fiercer we tend to cling to them as we age, perhaps most especially those things which aren't meant to stay with us forever.

We recently harvested one of the meat-birds-turned-layers who was becomming unhealthfully fat. It was a bit difficult for me, as I honestly just wanted to keep her around because she was so different-looking (the only darker one of the bunch) and special that way. Harvesting animals is certainly an exercise in letting go.

Why do we feel we must have something in hand to carry it with us? The intangible aspects, like a memory, just don't seem the same. We want the baggage. Or at least, I used to. But I'm finding with this lifestyle of less is more, that I'm becomming more at ease with the passing of things/beings/seasons - time - and less enamored with what was. For somehow we must carry all these experiences in our bones, even if we can't readily recall all the moments of our past. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that it's truly the present that matters, and that living in that doesn't negate the past or hinder the future, like at one time I thought it might.

15 comments:

  1. Beautifully written.

    I'm really, REALLY struggling with this right now as I have a sick kitty who's not long for this world. I'm trying to bottle up the precious moments I have with him, and tuck them away somewhere inside of me so I can keep them forever. As silly as this sounds, the thing that's really hard right now is that they shaved off his belly fur in order to do the tests to confirm his condition, and I don't know if he'll live long enough for it to grow back. I just keep thinking that I want him to be able to "die whole" whatever that means.

    I keep trying to remind myself that this is just how the circle of life works. Everything that lives dies, and if it didn't there wouldn't be any room for new ones, be they cats, chickens or people. But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'd rather he could live forever.

    I so admire your willingness to let go in this respect... I'd be a terrible farmer.

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    1. Aw, so sorry about your sweet kitty! Thinking of you...xo

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  2. "Why do we feel we must have something in hand to carry it with us?"
    I love that question. If it is okay with you I am going to write in my journal. To remind me. Thank you!

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    1. I meant write *this* in my journal. I'm sure you don't mind if I write in my journal!

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    2. :) Thank you for reading, Claudia!

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  3. That's so truthful. I come from a family that clings to things like you wouldn't believe. I feel like it's a sort of desperation to feel something real in a world that doesn't quite make sense. But when you live simply, that perspective starts to change. I would be sad, for example, if something happened to my great grandma's handmade tiny Swedish flag, but I would definitely move forward easily. I've found that taking pictures of an object (or animal) I cherish makes it easier to let go. Even if I don't reference that picture daily, knowing that I could visually see it is my own first step in being okay with that memory purely being inside of me.

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    1. Exactly! I think that's the reason I'm drawn to photography as well.

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  4. i would find that aspect of farming really difficult too Jaime...a beautifully thought provoking post! No answers here but you aren't alone *hugs*.

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  5. It truly is the present that matters. Not longing for what was or what may be. Live today the best you can. :)

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  6. This is beautiful - I love your story about your wrapper collections. That's such a perfect explanation of our need to hang on to beauty - and the switch to less is more and, in some ways, everything in its right place (or for its purpose) is an interesting one. I don't know... I very much relate to this!

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  7. I'm in the process of letting go of possessions that no longer serve a purpose in my life. It is difficult when raised by parents that don't throw anything away but also they didn't purchase as much stuff as I had done and didn't live in a society of STUFF. They bought quality over quantity while I have been buying good for now but doesn't last as long.Now I have a home full of STUFF when I want a home full of LOVE so I do need to shed the pounds of stuff that I have to make more room for the love I have for myself and my family.

    http://www.knittingwitholof.com/

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  8. Very thought provoking Jaime. I'm having to consider this myself lately, wondering why I keep so much stuff. Actually I do know. Most of mine is knitting and weaving yarns! I figure I'll use them some day. :)

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  9. I love this post. For a few years now, I've held the notion that "window shopping" (i.e. admiring something for its own beauty, style, practicality, etc) can be every bit as gratifying and pleasure-inducing as acquiring that object or piece of clothing for myself. We really do have too much stuff already, and letting go (or not getting more!) can be such a very good thing.

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