"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Essential


"And now here is my secret, a very simple secret, it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye." ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery The Little Prince

Did I tell you that we are only taking to CO what fits in the back of our minivan? The rest will remain in storage here until we decide that our move out there is permanent. So the personal items I take for myself, must fit into one medium-sized box.

I realize paring down all the "stuff" that I have accumulated over the years to a core group of personal effects requires a raw, hard look into what matters to my heart the most. I know they are just things, but things we can hold in our hands are conduits to the beautiful feelings we hold close to our hearts. They bear the emotions that we want expanded within, and relive again and again. Love, happy memories, gratitude, reflections, mindfulness, freedom, creativity, passion, peace...they all bring life to these inanimate objects, objects that keep my heart soft and my senses wide open. Perhaps these little magical reminders we carry are meant to burn into our hearts forever the invisible beauty of emotions that are gifts to a human life, so that one day we can, without fear, let the tangible all go. What's left then is an imprint of serenity, knowing that we have felt all that we could feel, and lived fully all that we could live.

What's in this box now is much smaller than I anticipated, but then again, with all the love it carries, not really :)...

Happy Wednesday my friends...

xo

oh, and I was just wondering...what would be in your box?

26 comments:

  1. When hurricane season rolls around every year I make a list of things that need to go if we evacuate and I am always surprised at how small this list is. Important papers and pictures must go, but then my list usually consists of a pair of plates that hung in every home we had while growing up that my father gave me before he passed away and a few items from my grandmothers and a few pieces of art work. I guess all the moving I did growing up I learned not to get too attached to "stuff"! My Dad was a great teacher in the moving department!

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    1. i love the idea of doing this regularly...

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  2. When we left for our 6 month tour of Australia, we went through this very thing...not knowing for sure if we'd come back, or if we'd be moving (to CO as it turned out), or...?? When we did finally return, I remember opening the boxes from storage thinking, "whose stuff is all of this??" We'd purged and sold a lot before boxing it all up. But, it was still superfluous after our time living out of a backpack! Sadly, it accumulates right back up again and we're in need of going through this process again. When I think of how few people have had the privilege that we had (and that you are now having) - living without all that stuff - I treasure that gift the most. Today, I think my box would have knitting needles, a journal and a kindle (not that I own one). Blessed be.

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  3. I think it would be difficult for me to put all my "treasures" in one box. I'm not sure what would be a treasure or not. I think the knitting would be in a separate bag :) So generational belongings would be the first in the box. You have me pondering!!

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  4. love that necklace. lets see...camera, journal, a new set of my fave pens, a few fave books like the collected poems of emily dickinson and some mary oliver too, a photo of me and my grandfather.

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  5. Very thought provoking.
    One box.
    Again, the scary and daunting can be so liberating.
    Have been doing some major cleaning out myself with the house hitting the market this Spring. Not down to one box...just donating lots of boxes.
    What would I put in one box?
    My books, journals, photos, would have to be on the top of the list.
    Cheers,
    Leah

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  6. i don't have many physical treasures other than my family really. but, i can tell you my box would be full of yarn. we purged before our island move and around the time of that had recently lost loved ones, my grandmother and a best friend. what we leave behind is just 'stuff' and i feel better traveling light throughout my life. but, yarn is a necessity to my well being. i am sure there are some great yarn stores though where you're headed!

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  7. we had a wall of fire heading towards our house one time & I had a few precious minutes to gather what was important - I took a few deep breaths and let them out & let go. I prayed and let God know it was all His and not mine anyway - then it was easy to see what I needed to grab - a few special photo albums - some family jewelry,some original art work that couldn't be replaced, and a few family heirlooms. The rest was just stuff. The fire didn't take our home- but it was a freeing moment for me and an eye-opening experience. I enjoy our "things" I keep things that mean something to me, but it is mostly just "stuff" - we have each other.

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  8. Wow! I'm impressed! I do agree that something wonderfully profound happens when we untangle ourselves from all the material "stuff". A cloud lifts and we can see ourselves more clearly. That's always a good thing. :)

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  9. I put my whole life in storage 10 months ago and only kept some essentials. and you know what, I don't miss anything. sometimes I think of a movie I'd like to watch, or a book I like to re-read, and I realize they are not with me, but that's never a big deal. this whole experience made me realize how little material possessions really matter...

    good luck with the move xx

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  10. It's interesting to think about what is important and needs to go immediately and what can possibly wait. I've been sitting here thinking on this for a while and I think that my cds of pictures, all of my jewelry, my three favorite coffee mugs, my Christmas cactus (it has moved with me) and a couple of ornaments would have to go. I am sure there are books, too, but I would need to actually go through all of them to decide who went and who stayed.

    I love your necklace.

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  11. Now there is something to ponder...what would be in my box? oh my. I'll have to think about this one. I don't know that I could answer this question unless I were actually in the situation. I must admit the wander-lust in me would love the opportunity.

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  12. MJ, living in CO... we have the reality of forest fires. Three months after Avi was born, so many of our friends were evacuating or on evacuation alert because of the Fourmile Canyon Fire. Those who lived just west of Broadway were on alert... we are one and a half blocks east of Broadway, so the reality that we would be next became very real. What would we take?? I made a list... then at least, I was "prepared" -- whatever that means. It's a much different kind of box that we were looking at.. but none the less... whatever fits in the car. Of course there was the list of photos that were in the garage, kitchen, upstairs guest bedroom but some other things included: my writing journals, my son's umbilical cord (which we have dried), our passports, a scrapbook of love notes my wife and I wrote to each other when I was in India for four months, the dog (may his life be for a blessing), and my breast pump. Not much time has past since the fire... 6,181 sq. acres burned. 169 homes burned. Some people didn't even get a chance to pack one box. Some friends who's home was spared said that it would have been a weird kind of blessing to have "lost" everything they couldn't pack... a forced lesson in letting go... of course they appreciated the blessing of being spared too. I guess I'm thankful for the opportunity to 'choose' to let go... and your post inspires me to let go... in fact, one of my commitments to myself was to donate/craigslist/gift/purge the "stuff" that we don't "need"....

    but I love how you said it: Perhaps these little magical reminders we carry are meant to burn into our hearts forever the invisible beauty of emotions that are gifts to a human life, so that one day we can, without fear, let the tangible all go.

    happy packing!
    :)

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  13. Where are your clothes? I love this. It's the best side effect of moving in my opinion. Sifting through all the superfluous and getting to the essentials. So freeing! Can't wait for your adventure.

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  14. what i left Greece to move to Norway and the love of my life, i had with me two suitcases mostly with inappropriate clothes for norwegian winters and two books of greek poetry...
    for a long while i missed my stuff. it was too expencive to bring them home (`cause home is where you are loved) and at some point i realized that its true :
    you don`t need the things you `ve left behind

    - well that last one is from a U2 song ; )

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  15. that little nest pendant is gorgeous!

    with all our moves, my tendency to declutter gets full reign! i enjoy doing it and am always reminded how little stuff really matters.

    my 'hurricane' box would contain my girls baby stuff like first lock of hair, etc. then my laptop and memory sticks, with all the photos. a few special books, camera, erm, not much really.

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  16. I have way too much stuff. I daydream about being "forced" to get down to the nitty gritty by a big move or downsizing, etc. I have a lot of talented artists in my family and their work adorns my wall and shelves. It would be extremely hard to not have their stuff.
    Thanks MJ, this has given me something to think about... what would my box contain?

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  17. Oh, this would be hard. So much of my home is filled with things that were passed from generation to generation. But if I had to...my camera, the children's art, and their baby memory boxes.

    And, it's only temporary. If you stay or go somewhere else, eventually you will be with your things again.

    XO

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  18. not much....some books and gifts my children have given me.
    I love that pendant, so very beautiful.xxx

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  19. Wow! This whole moving journey is getting more and more interesting! Just a medium sized box for your most special things....why do I find that comforting? I guess because if it were me having to decide what would go with me I would have permission to let so much of the other stuff go. My cameras, laptop, my potted violets and orchids, and a few of the books I was reading at the time - those things would all come with me.

    p.s. I spied your copy of Wildwood in the box and I think I should read it too. ;)

    xo
    cortnie

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  20. I love this question. I didn't answer right away after I read this post. I gave it a day to soak in and really think about it. I think I would grab my grand father's smoking pipe I received after he passed away. I didn't know him well, but his pipe on my book shelf has brought in this grandfather presence into my life that I didn't realize I was missing. There's some other things I'd grab. A well loved bible that is falling apart, some prayer ties, my smudge bundle. And I can't forget my new camera, Hank Little Hawk. :)

    I absolutely love following along with your journey out west! Makes me want to do a massive garage sale and condense.

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  21. I am so excited for you as you embark on this new journey!
    I would take a few favourite books, my knitting bag, some water colour paper and good quality pencils, my camera, memory sticks and disks with photos and videos of our family and yes reluctantly probably our laptop too :)
    Have a beautiful weekend MJ :)
    xx

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  22. I would probably have too much stuff in my box and would try to sneak an extra large box or two medium boxes into the car. I would definitely have a pic of my grandma, paints, knitting stuff. My granny's and my grandma's kitchen stuff, some old/first artwork by my kiddos.
    I am so excited about your move!
    xo,
    Ang

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  23. "What's left then is an imprint of serenity, knowing that we have felt all that we could feel, and lived fully all that we could live."

    Ahh. I need to sit with that one for awhile. It sounds like my idea of nirvana. I love the idea of leaving so much "stuff" behind, if only for a season, and am so excited for you as you take this leap!

    What would be in my box? It's really hard to say. The most treasured things I have these days - photos, etc, are digital, which limits the physical things I need. With my computer, my camera, and clothes on my back I'm pretty well set. I can get books at the library :)

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  24. I wish you all the best in your new adventure. I am being faced with packing my apartment up here shortly to move and it's overwhelming. A part of me would love to pare it down to one box each and never come back for the rest of it. What a refreshing exercise!

    Hugs! Erin

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  25. mj, i stop here at this post as it speaks to me directly. the last four or five years i have been at a crossroads with stuff. i am at the precipice now. this weekend i will begin packing boxes and removing the unessential. i wish i had one box to pack as you do, as it seems in the right direction. the way i am tackling it seems somewhat backwards. the word essential does not mess around, does it? i will think long and hard on it. well, not too long as i've been procrastinating, but most definitely i hope for it to tear layer upon layer from me.

    your necklace is exquisite. this is just the thing i would include, turquoise, of birds, silver, small and evocative. this speaks to me, too.

    what would be in my box? special books. silver jewelry. (i have a crow's skull pendant and a piece of amber i just received from china the other day.) a few photos. it's funny, i can't think of anything more.

    all the best in your move))

    xo
    erin

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“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw