Purging and…Spirituality?

April 12, 2007

[Just now getting around to editing/posting an entry I wrote two months ago…]

February 6, 2007

Today is my last day in Studio N. Everything has been moved out except the computer, and when I finish this entry, it will be shut down, disassembled, carefully stowed in the few remaining nooks and crannies of the van, and moved to it’s new/old desk in Laluna. This process of moving out of my studio has taken more than a month. I knew it would be slow and difficult, but I really had no idea how much I had accumulated or how difficult it would be to decide what to keep and what to give up. The process started slowly — with many items set aside early on as maybe-I-can-find-room-for-this hopefuls — and built to a crescendo the past few days where we’re selling things for ridiculously low prices ($10 for a router with $40 of brand-new bits thrown in? what’s that all about?) or giving them away with reckless abandon. Pretty much everything in that early maybe pile is gone…there just isn’t room in our lives for extra STUFF right now. Our rule for this move has been: If it won’t fit in either Laluna or Squeaker (the van), then we’ve got to get rid of it.

We thought the paring-down process was difficult in 2002 when we bought Laluna, a 34-foot 1984 vintage Airstream International trailer, and winnowed our possessions from a 3o00-square-foot house down to what would fit in a 10×25 storage unit. At that time we expected to be on the road only three or four months. Three years later we realized that storing all that STUFF was senseless, so we had a garage sale and made about 1/3rd of what it had cost to store it those three years.

That was a stark lesson.

Each year since, we’ve continued to thin our possessions, but this year is the hardest because we’re forcing ourselves to get rid of the STUFF that has made the cut five years running…these are things we didn’t really want to part with.

Still, it feels good, this defiant act of freedom. Cutting to the bone is painful, but already we can sense the growth that results from that pain. Funny, but as I navigate Austin’s streets with a stretch van packed very nearly to its payload capacity, I have this nagging feeling that we still have too much stuff! When I think of college days, when everything I needed to survive (quite happily) fit in my 1972 Ford Gran Torino 2-door, I know I’ve got too much stuff.

And so, maybe this process is not over, yet. Could it be that next year will demand an even lighter load? Time will tell.


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