The Stuff That Really Matters

Funny Stock Room

A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.  George Carlin

I recently came home from a challenging day and all I wanted to do was lie down on my cozy couch, drink some hot tea, watch some good television and play a game on my iPad. After plopping down, I thought about it and realized that I really wanted to escape my thoughts, forget my day and let material things soothe my emotions. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it got me thinking about how much I rely on my “stuff” to make me feel better.

The real danger in relying on our stuff for comfort is not the material items themselves, but our attachment to them. Accumulating material items can help us be more at ease with life and give us the feeling that everything is okay. We may also feel our stuff provides a safety net just in case bad things happen. Yet if we use our material items to make us feel better and make us feel safe, what will happen if we lose these items because of events such as the loss of a job, a stock market crash or an act of Mother Nature? Often, this loss or even just the threat of losing our material items, leaves us feeling groundless and consumed with fear and worry of what the future will bring.

Doesn’t it make you wonder whether there are things that we can cultivate in our lives that cannot be taken away? If accumulating material items doesn’t keep us safe and strong, then what does? I think real strength comes from a place where we can access hope and faith regardless of our circumstances.  Maybe the simplicity of everyday living and loving can be our true safety net.

I AM NOT advocating getting rid of all your stuff – I’m not getting rid of most of mine. But I am suggesting that we spend some time considering shifting our relationship with our stuff. Maybe we need a lot less than we think? Maybe we can spend less time accumulating and taking care of our stuff and more time with the people we love? Maybe we can fill our daily thoughts less with material accumulation and more with gratitude and what we can do for our community and the world?

Spending some time with the realization that you can live without some of your stuff may create a feeling of freedom and trigger the ability to cultivate inner qualities that neither Mother Nature nor a bad economy can take away. Just Maybe