For twenty years I lived in the second story apartment you can see through the middle of the building in the left image. Far upper left in the pool shot. Relative happiness. It was really just a nest.
The front was crammed with potted plants and I ran a hose from the kitchen faucet to water.
The pool was wonderful.
I had a stray kitty come in one night while I was on the floor cutting fabric, making a bridesmaid’s dress for a friend. She was there with me. The only thing I had to feed her was a can of bean and bacon soup. She ate it. She continued to come back for years. “No Pets Allowed”, so I tried to get her to be quiet when she meowed all the way up the stairs each night following me in. The landlord turned a blind eye. She just came to eat and sleep and went out again in the morning. Pinky. She had a deformed mouth so her little pink tongue showed against her black fur.
I finally bought a big house almost four time the space and spent six years there sorting myself out and accumulating stuff. It had a big yard and I did a lot of practicing on growing things. The new owners took all that out and all of the previous 20+ year of hedge growth, trees and things and put in lawn. By the time I had grown completely discontent with California, I had two dogs and two cats and they all came with me to Arizona. Little Red-Haired Girl is the only one still of that tribe.
And a lot of stuff came with me too. Years and years of stuff and then I went on to try to start a business here and acquired ever more stuff, stuff, stuff.
Stuff is anxiety provoking. It robs peace and I am all for a simple life of abundance and peace. Now that I know better.
Having been a neurotic accumulator (aka: a hoarder, albeit with a purpose) for so long, it has been a process. It is so cathartic to finally be getting rid of it all. There’s lots more to go, but great progress has been made. I’m glad to say that the more one practices letting go, the easier and easier it becomes. It becomes less important to imagine an income from ‘things’ than to imagine the freedom from it, from the anxiety it all creates.
The most resent riddance has been books. I still have books, but all of the ones that were just taking up space for nothing are going, going, going to the Library/Friends of the Library or friends who want any of them. Some of the ones left will go too. A whole life’s history of work, worry, study and thought. Time to be in the now. Good riddance.
So the moral of the story is that all that really matters is living, breathing things; plants, animals and other people. Revisiting some of those books, I was reminded of the many stages of life and the tools required to get through some of them. I have always turned to books. It seems like there is an answer in there somewhere; but after revisiting some of them, I realized that most of the answers come in the living. Break up with a boy, fall apart, study psychology (another book or two or ten) to try to understand things…time heals all wounds and in continuing to live, the problems get solved. What helps you get through things the best? Focusing on things outside of yourself, living things; plant, animals and other people is what does.
My favorite quote is a static feature at the bottom of every post.
That book I kept. It’s full of wisdom. I was 14 when it was published, so it is still relevant to the era of my youth and young adulthood in its nuance.
And other people.
That’s it. Simple as that. Living things.