Having completed the daunting task of eliminating about 50% of the ‘stuff’ from my garage over the last few weeks, I have become stuck in ‘The Now’. If you haven’t read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, now might be a good time. The book talks about focusing your attention on the present and not the past or future. Living in the moment is supposed to be a good thing. But what about memories conjured by prompts I see each day – photographs, journals, or the kids old drawings? If I am living in the now, should I really be keeping all these memory triggers? When I look at old things, it draws me into the past, and ‘The Now’ is where I want to be, not the past.
Over the last few weeks, I discarded many items, but it felt like I discarded memories as well. I justified to myself that ‘things’ weigh you down. Now, looking back, I wonder if I did the right thing. I began to contemplate the doomsday scenario. What if I lost everything I own? What if there was a robbery or a fire? How upset would I be about lost or destroyed items? Is there really that much I need?
Oddly when I thought about things I need, the first things that came to mind were pants, shirt, and shoes (and of course underwear, I think that goes without saying). Should I be disturbed that losing all my stuff could be rectified with a trip to The Gap or Old Navy? Is this what my needs have come down to? Have I lost my sentimentality completely? And if so, is that good? It feels good, so it must be good. Is it possible that my happiness is more dependent on The Gap than all the ‘stuff’ I have in my home?
According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a human’s first need is to feel psychologically and physically safe before they need other ‘things’. My first need is definitely clothes! The next thing on my list was a shelter of some sort. A tent? If I was lucky enough to have an apartment or house (with wi-fi) then a computer would be next on my list. I realized quickly that I could live without a television, an Ipod, and possibly even a telephone if I just had a computer. The computer is an amazing multifunctional device!
So for now, I sit here fully clothed typing into my computer feeling grateful for all that I have. Clearly I did the right thing by discarding unused items. Any memories lost are not really lost, as they are locked inside my brain if I really want them. I have decided to keep on living in the now. Are you going to start living in ‘The Now’, now?