CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Waiting for Hurricane Gustav to make landfall, coupled with preparations for my mother's upcoming move, have caused me to think a lot about the stuff in my life.
What if I had to pick up and leave? What would I scurry around to grab? There are the obvious items, of course, like my purse. And those irreplaceable wedding albums in a bookcase near the front door. As I look around, there are a few family heirlooms, but they're too heavy.
If time is of the essence, we're encouraged to just leave as quickly as possible. Sometimes there's no choice. I know some of you have been affected by fires, floods and other disasters. What's it like to start over?
I've actually been on an organization kick lately - at the office and at home. This is definitely a work in progress, though, as evidenced by the reading material I've accumulated on the topic. At the risk of sounding too much like Andy Rooney, I'll name a few:
I particularly like the subtitle of that last one: "Why Your Papers, Books, Clothes and Other Possessions Keep Overwhelming You - And What to Do About It."
Ever notice how many organizational books, articles and Web sites there are out there? Those alone can be overwhelming!
While I've gleaned some helpful tips from these materials, the most interesting resource I've run across lately is a book titled, "Letting Go of Stuff."
When author Darren Johnson talks about letting go of stuff, he doesn't mean the 10 pairs of jeans you're keeping for when you actually lose those 10 pounds, comments critic Faye Jones of Nashville Scene. He's more concerned with cleaning out the internal closet and getting rid of those negative thoughts that keep people trapped in unhappiness and afraid of change.
Johnson advocates that long-lasting change only happens when it is made from the inside out. It requires commitment, trust (in ourselves) and consistency. Another key component is our internal dialogue. (There's that pesky inner voice again!)
The ego competes with the spirit for control over our inner voices, Johnson points out. Although the ego is within us, it is separate from our spirit. The internal struggle between our ego and our spirit helps create the "stuff" in our lives.