A few weeks ago, The Minimalists posted an essay on their blog entitled “Prepared to Walk Away”. I have been reading their work for a few years but for some reason this piece really struck a cord and got me thinking and asking myself the same question. Could I walk away from everything in my life? Well, no, I can’t. Could you?
I could probably walk away from all my material possessions. I’m not saying it would be easy, but it could be done and I don’t think would cause me any long-term trauma. Although I let go of much of what I used to own over the last few years, I still have attachments to stuff. I have created a comfortable living space which is decorated exactly the way I want it to be. Even though the furniture, artwork and area rugs are just stuff, I would be sad to walk away from those things.
In the essay Joshua writes, “Being able to walk away means I won’t ever get too attached to my belongings and being unattached to stuff makes our lives tremendously flexible-filled with opportunity”. Well when he puts it that way, it gives me permission to let go of my stuff and imagine what my life could be like if I didn’t assign so much importance to the space I live in and the things in it. In my work with clients, I give them permission to let go of a lifetime of stuff that’s holding them back. So, if my stuff is holding me back, perhaps I do need to walk away.
Joshua also writes about habits in this same context. Can you walk away from old habits and adopt new ones that will help you move forward in your life? Habit change is absolutely something I work on with clients almost every day. The habit of throwing things on the floor or filling horizontal surfaces full of stuff doesn’t really serve anyone in a positive way. I suppose the question is , “Would the effort required to change that habit be worth it? “
I have been working with a couple of clients over the last few weeks who are selling their homes. As we begin to tackle a house filled with a lifetime of stuff and question the importance of the stuff and whether it’s worth packing and taking to a new home, in a sense we are learning to walk away. Those clients will be walking away from the home they may have lived in for ten, fifteen, twenty years or even longer. They will be leaving behind a home full of memories. My hope is that they will also let go of a lifetime of stuff so they can walk away into a new home and a new life.
Life certainly is a journey and so is our relationship with stuff. So, could you walk away?