I spent a little more time on meditation with the Gates’ book this weekend. I am still in the section of the Yamas regarding Aparigraha and I’m coming to realize a few things about myself. Last weekend, at the end of my meditation, I wrote down:
I am not the hoarder you think I am….I am worse
Maybe not the most positive thing I’ve ever thought, said, or written about myself, but truth none the less. Why is this truth? I have a hard time with regret, resentment, and letting go of the past. I think we all have ideals about the way things should have been and occasionally it’s hard to reconcile what is with what we thought could have been. I don’t say “what could have been” because you don’t know that it would have turned out that way.
This weekend I sat down to meditate again (after holding that thought loosely with me all week) and came to the Day 54 reading and read:
“You’re not a hoarder, you’re a nonrelinquisher.” ~ Eleanor Willams
This was the opening quote and it made me dive right into the reading. Gates talks about how Aparigraha is “…..an opportunity to learn how to say good-bye. (p.72)” And he also discusses that those who have this difficulty are often the ones who have done without in the past. When I read this I thought of my great uncle. He has 5 children and they told me that when they come to visit they secretly clear out parts of the house where they think he won’t notice. They noted that he has an entire drawer full of take out silverware and another with milk jug caps. These are things he’s holding on to, not because he needs them, not because he’s a big spender that collects things and can’t stop shopping, but “in case he needs them”. He grew up in a time where you didn’t waste for fear of not having enough.
While I didn’t grow up in the Great Depression, I also didn’t grow up with much. I was privileged during my first marriage to have more than enough. Then, I was single again and poor again and living off of Hot Pockets and credit cards. I hold on too long because I have been without and it makes it hard sometime to see what is worth holding on to and what should be let go of.
I asked myself: Can I learn to say good-bye? What was it like to stand alone? What do I fear about being without?
In the Day 55 reading Gates writes about removing the clutter of our lives to clear space for something better and that hoarding is really a way of prolonging any unsatisfactory relationship. Hm? Am I still doing this? Why?
I look around at the small amount of physical clutter in my life and realize that sometimes it’s hard emotionally to deal with organizing and so I just don’t do it. The emotionally detached things like paying bills and dusting are much easier for me to tackle than sorting through old holiday cards or professional magazines. It’s hard to let these things go because What if I forget what that moment was like? What if I never get any further in my field? What if choosing to be a stay at home mom was the wrong decision after all?
The emotional clutter is large and needs to be dealt with.
I chose for my Day 12 practice to do some physical work and let the emotions settle for a day. Much like when I pack to move, I can only do so much clearing out before I need to take a break. I’m great at moving and getting rid of stuff from place to place. It’s easy to see the use or non use of an object when it’s been packed away for awhile. It’s harder to see the value of an emotion that’s been stuffed down.
Today I spend my 5 minutes focusing on Garland Pose. Because it can help you to restore some of what has been lost in lower body flexibility and strength and I need to restore some of what has been lost down inside of me.
What is it hardest for you to part with? Emotions or items?
Are you a hoarder of things? Why?