Notes from Janey . . .
This past summer we tackled the daunting task of cleaning out the garage. (I can hear your groan of sympathy from here – thank you.)
An unidentifiable mass was stacked to the ceiling and to the back wall. Boxes towered and teetered precariously on each side.
To make matters worse, it wasn’t only our stuff. Generations, starting with my grandparents, have lived here before us and each one left their stuff behind. And it wasn’t the good stuff either. Somehow they managed to take that with them. What’s left is mostly crap piled high and wide, leaving barely enough room to step inside.
Tupelo and I stood together at the opened garage door, nearly defeated before we started as we looked at the mangled mess before us. Luckily, my friend, Lidia, had given me a mantra to mutter as I began to wade through the task at hand. She suggested I ask myself each time I picked something up:
“Do I love it? Do I use it?”
If I answered either of these questions with a positive, then it stayed. If not, out it went. This helped me tremendously. I asked myself this question over and over again throughout the next few weeks, and eventually, we got through it. For the first time ever I saw that Grandpa had built the back wall with logs – I never knew this, and we have lived there since the 90’s.
This mantra, “Do I love it? Do I use it?” can work on many things besides material possessions. We just have to tweak the last one to, “Do I use it for my greater good?”
For instance, a habit or a routine, “Do I love it? Do I use it for my greater good?” Tupelo gets up every morning and does an exercise called the “Five Tibetans.”
Here’s a link to his article about it:
No matter where we wake up in our motorhome, even if it’s a rest stop by the interstate or a Wal-Mart parking lot, there he is spinning and doing the downward dog. Cars slow down and people point, but this doesn’t stop him. He loves it and he does it for his greatest good. This is a case where a habit or routine is beneficial.
But we all have habits and routines that are not. If we ask ourselves these important questions we see which ones we need to discard from our life. If we’re honest with ourselves, we wouldn’t love it if it weren’t for our greater good, would we?
How about our job? The first question is a biggie. “Do we love it?”
If not, why would we want to spend our precious time on earth doing it?
And the place we call home? Same thing. Do we love where we’re living, and do we use this place to nurture our greater good? Simple questions. Big answers.
Relationships? This is a tough one, but the questions need to be asked. One of the greatest gifts this life has to offer is close friends and loving relationships.
We hold these close and treasure them. But toxic relationships that are poisoning our well-being should be thrown out. This may take some time and guts, but it can be done.
Another tough subject that can come under scrutiny is our belief system. As we grow in our spirituality and open our minds to new ideas, some of our old beliefs fall by the wayside. Sometimes they are an ingrained habit. We have to wake up to this fact and ask ourselves consciously. “Do we love it? Do we use it to our greater good?” If not, you know the drill.
And what about our thoughts? So much garbage floats through and then hangs around, caught in a negative eddy in our mind. When it’s time to release them, we’ll know it. But it takes a conscious effort to do so.
Old habits, crippling thoughts, past beliefs, stale relationships, stifling jobs, and all the stuff in our lives that we don’t love and that we don’t use for our greater good can be cleaned out if we just buckle down and do it. It’s a daunting task, but once we see the results, it is oh so worth it.
Just ask the resident squirrel that now has a nice, cleaned-out garage that he can start filling with a winter’s supply of pine cones. He loves them and he uses them. He has learned this lesson well.
(Article and photos by Janey Wing Kenyon)
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