Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stuff and Passion

Small Spaces
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."

I love to cook. I love to knit and sew. I love to garden. I love to entertain. I love to read. I love to listen to music and watch movies. But I am trying very hard to be a minimalist. And all of these things could lead me down a path of mass consumption. 

I am trying to be a minimalist because I know that I will not be on this Earth forever. My three sons do not need to spend weeks or months after I'm gone 
selling and giving away my possessions. That's my real motivator, my sons. I've written before about the trauma my siblings and I experienced when my mom died suddenly. The trauma was two-fold. First the obvious, the loss of a person who we all loved very much, but secondly the things that were left behind, her possessions, that we had to decide how to disperse and sell. I don't want my sons to have to deal with the same thing when I leave.

My mom loved many of the same things I do, but in her love for all things sewing and reading, she started to get to the point where she was more about the collecting of fabrics and books than about completing things. It may be what happens to us when we have a passion, if we start to collect the accoutrements of that passion rather than actually participating in the passion. These are two very different things. 

Living in a tiny apartment for the past 5 years, I have had to considerably downsize my sewing and knitting and even my books. For awhile, I was really feeling bad about my books, but then I moved to my new house. 900 blissful square feet with a yard for gardening. I haven't unpacked many of my books. Sitting in my living room devoid of the clutter that can accumulate around too many books, I am more calm, more focused. The books were heavy. They took up lots of boxes, although not as many boxes as they used to. And I am wondering - could I live with even less books than I have right now. I live in a university town, where I am an alum, so not only do I have access to our county library (about a mile from my house), but I also have access to a university library. Do I really need to store books in my house? 

I have also made a pact with myself to lay out my knitting and sewing projects and finish a sewing project a week, and make measured progress on a knitting project. Currently, I have two projects I'm working on: a cable shawl that I work on every night and teddy bears for my two youngest granddaughters. I am making a list of projects and expected dates they will be completed. By summer I should have worked through much of my fabric and yarn, and I'm not buying anything else until they are all finished. I think it is important to actually do the projects we set out to do rather than just gathering the materials to do them. I think in the consumer society we live in it is too easy to do the later. Completed projects offer a sense of accomplishment that acquiring materials does not offer. 

It's time to get busy. Updates to follow. Have a peaceful week filled with walks and hugs and love.

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