The Tao of Skippy: Book II
The Phoenix Rises From The Ashes
Have you ever been to rock bottom? Not the brewery. The place in life where you have lost every material possession you had. No money at all. No place to live. All that’s left to you is the clothing you are wearing and nothing else. If so I would be interesting in knowing how you dealt with the situation and how it affected you. That’s what the comment area below if for by the way, not for spam postings about Viagra. As an aside, “Viagra” is in my spell checker. There is some inadvertent commentary for you. But I digress.
I am not at rock bottom, not currently near rock bottom (tho I do smell like it sometimes) nor have I ever been to rock bottom. But sometimes I think about it. The concept is one that I find frightening and exhilarating at the same time.
Like many people I have attachments to my stuff. I’m not referring to unhealthy or obsessive attachments here (that’s a different thing) but the normal attachments we all have. Therefore I need a place to keep my stuff. Maintaining my stuff and my abode (aka stuff storage place) requires I use resources. Specifically time and money. Time and money that could go towards other endeavours, creations and achievements. Imagine for a moment that you were suddenly free of obligation to your stuff and abode. Frightening yes – but isn’t there also something liberating about it? A feeling of broken chains? Ultimate freedom?
You know there is.
Don’t most people have some level of respect and admiration for the monk or hermit who has given up all the stuff and the permanent abode and is free to exist, think and act as the moment & circumstances dictate?
The voluntary giving up of stuff is different than having it taken from you by external factors you can’t control yet the end result is similar. Maybe having your stuff taken from you, because of the trauma associate with the event, is more life changing and powerful? I’ve purged much of the stuff from my life. About one and a half years ago I started getting rid of things in my home. Giving away to friends, charity and the thrift store. Some stuff I sold or am selling on Craig’s List. When all else fails there is always the dumpster. And yet after all that I find I’ve still got too much stuff. It’s time for another purge.
Stuff can give us a sense of security and purpose which is a stabilizing factor in life. Yet maintaining that stuff can also lead to stagnation.
“Fish can’t thrive in stagnate water.”
Am I saying that you can’t be productive and creative and achieve if you have stuff? Not at all. Stuff is both a burden and a resource. In order to do photography I have to have stuff. What I am saying is this:
1. Excessive (which is going to be defined differently for different people) attachment to stuff can be limiting.
2. The loss of all your stuff can be freedom if you let it be freedom.
I use to have many keepsakes and souvenirs, knick-knacks and dust collectors. For example I would always keep some small item from every theatre production I was involved with to “remember the experience”. Then one day I read something (if I could remember where I’d give credit) which altered my world view.
“Memories are in the mind not in the objects.”
After internalizing this new concept I purged almost all of my memorial objects and dust collectors. Yes – almost all. I have a small shelf that I allow to be home for a limited number of dust collectors. If a new memorial object wants to move in something must move or go away to make room for it.
And what about making room? Aren’t most of us full right now? Our lives are full of stuff and behaviours. For anything new to enter my life I have to let something go. So do you.
The loss of everything material is the ultimate giving up of stuff. Some people can and do purge their stuff voluntarily. Others have it forced upon them. What if it happened to me? If my stuff were torn from me by forces beyond my control. I think I would go thru the following process or something quite close to it:
- Shit myself.
- Use bad language.
- Call the insurance company.
- Find out there is some loophole or clause which excuses the insurance company from paying me.
- Use more bad language.
- Urinate on the handles of the front door of the insurance company.
- Cry some more.
- Blame women. It’s always a woman’s fault.
- Get over it.
Steps one thru eight aren’t really that much fun. Except for step seven. Providing I don’t get caught.
Step nine doesn’t really accomplish anything.
Step ten is where freedom and possibility live. In the getting over it what might I achieve or become? I have no idea of the specifics but the open-ended possibilities are enough to sometimes make me wish my abode would burn down to the ground.
While me and my camera are not home of course.