Ever wonder why we carry so much stuff? Look around. Our spaces are packed with stuff. We keep collecting stuff, filling each corner and wall in our homes and offices. We spend what free time we have cleaning, dusting, organizing, arranging, and admiring stuff. We buy stuff, collect stuff, keep stuff, store stuff, bury ourselves in stuff. Windows and entries are blocked with stuff. Eventually, we run out of room and pay to store stuff. No matter how we pay, through time, space, or money, there’s a cost to carrying stuff.
Ever wonder about the stuff we store in our minds? We pack our minds with as much as stuff as we cram into our physical spaces. Our minds are stuffed with stuff, much like our closets, drawers, shelves, basements, and attics. Ruminating thoughts, old tapes, preoccupations, worries, fears, to-do lists, and “what ifs” fill every space in our minds. Eventually, we run out of room in our minds. Then what? In what ways do we pay for all the stuff we carry in our minds?
We pay for carrying stuff through loss of connections with others and ourselves, and through the distance that stuff creates between us. Our minds are so preoccupied with stuff that we put stuff before others and ourselves. We allow stuff to create disagreements, arguments, and squabbles that rupture relationships and fill our minds with more stuff to carry. The windows of our minds are blocked with stuff, our view distorted, our flow blocked because of stuff in our way. We rehash the stuff, move it around, reorganize it, polish it, even admire it. We’re so focused on stuff that we miss what is right in front of us, inside, outside, and between us.
Why do we carry stuff?
Perhaps we carry stuff to feel complete, whole. In other words, if my mind’s not filled with stuff, who am I? We create stories, dramas, and fantasies that we replay over and over, repeatedly in our minds. We allow our minds to create the person we dream of being, the relationships we long for, the life we long to live. We might do this as youngster as we envision and design our futures; however, if our dreams only replay in our minds, then sadly, carrying stuff that we never put to use only leaves us lonely…and with a lot of stuff.
Perhaps we carry stuff out of fear. We don’t feel safe with what we have, who we are, so we carry antiques and relics, stuff from the past. We carry what was because we fear what is. In other words, living in the past keeps me safe from what is. We might have memories from the past that we carry because they bring us joy and touch our hearts when remembered; however, if we live in the past to avoid what is, then sadly, carrying stuff to feel safe leaves us with regrets…and a lot of stuff.
Perhaps we carry stuff out of guilt or regret. We ruminate repeatedly on past events that crumbled and relationships that unraveled trying to find answers, figure things out, come to some sense of resolve. Mistakes, poor judgment, happenings that were out of our control, play over and over in our mind as if we’ve been sentenced to live in their prison forever. We might review our behaviors in past events and relationships that ended badly and learn from them; however, carrying stuff that continues to punish us leaves us in pain…and with a lot of stuff.
Perhaps we carry stuff for inspiration and motivation; what I call the “good” stuff. My father once said to me, “This ain’t no dress rehearsal. You don’t get to do it again.” What he meant was, life is not not a dress rehearsal that we get to do over until we get it right. You get one shot. I’ve carried my father’s quote in my mind since the day he said it for inspiration. I also carry a picture of a dear friend that recently passed away in my purse. In the picture, his intoxicating smile and thumbs up motivates me to live, love, and laugh. Both my father’s message and the image of my friend don’t take up a lot of space in my mind, or my purse, but they sure push out the negative stuff my mind starts to carry. They’re sort of like having my very own mind bouncers!
Here’s the thing, carrying stuff should be uplifting, gratifying, joyful, inspirational, motivating, and enhance your life and you. If you’re at a place in your life where you’re tired of carry stuff, you might begin with sifting through what you carry, much like when you sort through a closet or drawer. Make three piles: one to toss, one that’s undecided, and one to keep, the “good” stuff. I encourage you toss what doesn’t serve you and definitely keep what inspires you. The undecided pile might be the toughest pile to reconcile. Pay attention to what’s preventing you from deciding whether to keep or toss the stuff. Is it completeness or wholeness, fear, guilt or regret, or something else? Revisit the piles periodically and sort through them again. You might discover more to toss or more to keep. Over time, pay attention to how you feel and how your relationships and life change as you carry less stuff or choose to carry more “good” stuff.
Sending you inspiration,