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Linger Longer April 16, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

What if everything we claim to possess possesses a part of us in return . . . splintering our energy into fragments?

When we claim to possess something (MY house, MY car,  MY workplace), we invest energy into “owning IT” and caring for IT.

We infuse part of ourselves with each person, place, or thing we “grow attached to.”

What if, as a result of our investment, the person, place, or thing comes to possess a bit of us in exchange?  

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

We give . . . IT takes.

What happens when we leave IT behind (or IT leaves us behind)? 

Does our energy linger longer?

What say you?

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter.  ~ Blaise Pascal


1. Tammy - April 16, 2012

I do think the things that we attend to zap our energy. This is not necessarily a bad thing in circumstances such as parenting however, I try to watch my outside activities because they quickly absorb me.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

I read a post this morning by someone so “invested” in another that losing the “other” has caused them to lose themselves in the process. She feels sad and hopeless and lost and alone, uncertain that she will ever regain her happiness and peace of mind.

It’s so sad because happiness is never in things . . . or significant others. It is in us. And it is up to us to find it.

2. granny1947 - April 16, 2012

That is so deep NR….I think you are quite right.
I don’t own a house…phew.
Very little furniture…phew.
Am leaving my family…phew.
Can I keep the car????

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

You may! I imagine that you are pleased to have LESS stuff to move . . . rather than MORE.

3. suzicate - April 16, 2012

It does take time and energy and we do become attached.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

We grow attached to our attachments. We hang on tight and hate to let go. My parents, for example, are so possessed by their possessions that they can’t even think of moving.

4. Three Well Beings - April 16, 2012

I am going to be thinking about this all day today…I mean that. I think there is something deep in here I could use…but it will need to wash over me for a while. I’ll have to see what comes…I do hold on pretty tight and I do understand the zap of energy “possessing” takes…I can feel it! Debra

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Before we buy an object, we don’t much care if coffee is spilled on IT . . . or if IT is trampled by other shoppers . . . or if IT is stolen off the showroom floor.

But, as soon as we purchase IT and take IT home, we care about ITs “well-being” ~ we guard IT against loss, damage, and theft with locks and insurance.

Multiply that energy expenditure by all the books, clothes, CD’s, dishes, knick knacks, paddywhacks, and assorted paraphernalia in our homes and you get the sense of how diffused our energy can become. If we aren’t careful, we become possessed by our possessions.

Three Well Beings - April 16, 2012

You are so right…ouch!

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

And, of course, the more stuff we have . . . the more space we need to store it . . . cooling and heating rooms that are little more than repositories for our accumulations of stuff. 😉

5. Richard W Scott - April 16, 2012

I dropped by earlier, read and left a LIKE, but thinking about your post has brought me back.

When I really think about it, I find the idea of the ownership of anything rather amazing. Most physical things have the potential of outlasting their “owners”, and while much of the “wealth” of an individual could be passed on to others, or in some way shared, even then ownership seems iffy to me.

We feel we own our homes, or our cars, or even our own lives, but we don’t really have carte blanche to do with them as we might want. We are bound by countless laws (or traditions).

I can’t even be sure I own my thoughts. After all, I am a product of my culture, my family, years of education, and even my genes. How much of what I call me is truly unique and can be “possessed”?

No, I think we are more travelers through the world, at best renting the land, the physical things in our lives, even our lives themselves for a painfully short time.

And, while our house might be around in a hundred years, “modern” construction techniques with their built-in obsolescence pretty much guarantee that any such building will be a very different place by then, if it exists at all.

Ownership is a convenient myth, but myth it is, despite our desperate longing to claim and hold parts of the world around us.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Glad you came back, Rik! Good thoughts.

When we stop hanging on so TIGHT to things as they are . . . the more easily we flow through life.

Unfettered by possessions, we have less to cart around in our wheelbarrows, and we have both hands free to embrace opportunities and possibilities as the path unfolds before us.

Aah . . . that’s better.

6. Arlee Bird - April 16, 2012

I’d probably be better off with less stuff to worry about. The paradox it that though I may think that I own possessions, the greater reality is that those possessions own me.

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out
Try my networking experiment

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Yes! Exactly! We spend time, energy, and money to shop, buy, care, and maintain all manner of “belongings” ~ and those possessions begin to possess pieces of us in the process.

We can also become focused (to the point of obsession) on our reputation with others ~ caring so much about what THEY think of us, that we forget to consider what WE think of ourselves.

7. BrainRants - April 16, 2012

I’d love to linger longer but the Army says go… neat post as always.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Thanks, Matt. My current “ear worm” . . . Should I stay or should I go?”

Safe travels to you. Hope you’re back home before you know it.

8. spilledinkguy - April 16, 2012

I think that’s probably true, Nancy…
and I think I can see both a good side and a bad one to investing self in people / places / things. As with most things in life I’d guess the key might come down to finding the ‘right balance of investment’ (easier said than done though, I guess).

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Good point, SIG. When we focus on RIGHT THINKING and RIGHT ACTION, we enjoy the journey no matter what.

In contrast, if we GIVE to GET something back, we are focused on a destination that is elusive and which may remain outside our grasp (or get snatched away).

We can control OUTPUT, not INPUT.

When we give, give, give (with no expectation of a “return on our investment”), balance is ours for the asking.

9. loubyjo - April 16, 2012

alot to think about here i have ocd and aspergers and love info and find myself getting attached to more and more word and books as always need more which can cause a lot of distress i had a major clearout last year and did feel alot better !! tha ks interesting thoughts

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

As you’ve noticed, clearing clutter is good for our mental and physical well-being.

10. sufilight - April 16, 2012

Life has shown me we pretty much don’t own things… everything is a constant state of change. We can however enjoy what we have but with the awareness it’s temporary. And as for energy, the chair I am sitting on is pure energy, not really there as I think it is. Yikes. 🙂

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

That’s an excellent point, Marie ~ things are not as “substantial” as we would think.

Flux and change and swirling energy is the name of the game.

11. Alannah Murphy - April 16, 2012

Whilst it’s nice to enjoy things, and own a few that give us joy, I personally think less is more. If you have less things, the ones you do have, are things that truly mean something to you, and you appreciate them more, than if you had 200 of them…but that’s just my own personal opinion. I’m a bit of a minimalist…

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Just think how much easier your moves have been because you had less stuff to tote from Point A to Point B. 🙂

I agree completely. Having MORE than we need doesn’t add to our happiness. Just the opposite.

Studies have shown that having too many choices creates anxiety due to the fear that we will choose the WRONG item ~ be it a shirt, shoes, purse, pants, CD, TV show, or dessert!

12. cuhome - April 16, 2012

As I gradually age, and let go of things, bit by bit, at first there’s a tug ~ “I might need that, sometime . . .” I find that, once I’ve let go, passed it on, whatever, I’ve forgotten I ever even had it. And the bonus is, I feel lighter!! Thanks for this post. It’s a good reminder for me.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Of all the many and wondrous things we’ve given away, donated, or sold over the years . . . there is only ONE that I would re-call if I could. The rest . . . out of sight, out of mind.

cuhome - April 16, 2012

Which one would you re-call? If you don’t mind saying . . . I’m curious. 🙂

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

You’re gonna laugh . . .

PONG! The electronic ping pong game. 😆

13. Andra Watkins - April 16, 2012

I’m in a big purge right now. I hope something will be left of me when I’m done. 🙂

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Moving is a great time to “shed the load” a bit . . .

If you don’t have time to sort through it all when packing, you have a chance at the “other end” to say, “Nah. . . don’t need it.”

Good luck with the packing, moving, unpacking, and placing of your possessions. 😀

14. judithhb - April 16, 2012

Another good one Nancy to make us think. When I moved into this much smaller house, I had to let go of many things. Furniture that had nowhere to go, books and ornaments collected over the years. But it was amazing how much lighter I felt when this all went. I have never HAD to do this before as each move had been into a house of the same size or on several occasions larger houses with the excuse to ‘possess’ more things. No more.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Thanks, Judith! I feel the same. Anytime I take donations over to Goodwill, I feel GREAT ~ so liberating to shed accumulations that are just collecting dust.

And it makes room for houseguests . . . like Andy! 😆

15. Julie - April 16, 2012

Interesting. We don’t often think about our possessions possessing us (or our obsessions), but it’s a little bit true I think. Anyway, very thought-provoking. Especially since I’m in the mood to do one of my “purges” of things.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

We watched Restaurant:Impossible last night for the first time. The owner of Anna Maria’s Italian Cafe was so attached to her out-dated (and dirty) decor that she fought the proposed changes with all her might ~ she wanted to keep HER pink tableclothes and HER menu and HER . . .

The restaurant has been floundering for the past 6 years ~ these days, a BUSY Saturday night only meant 6 or 7 guests, instead of a filled dining room of hungry patrons.

Once the changes were made . . . the dining room started attracting guests again. She just needed to LET GO of the past to make room for the PRESENT!

Purging accumulations is a great relief ~ like shaking weight off the shoulders. Enjoy your purge! 😀

16. kateshrewsday - April 16, 2012

Strange, that. Been writing about the real Robinson Crusoe tonight. I think he half-loved the solitary lack of materialism on that island. Nothing there to possess him.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

I’ve often thought I would enjoy living in a hut on a desert island . . . as long as there were no hungry cannibals about. 😆

17. nancycurteman - April 16, 2012

The “things” we own limit our freedom. The “things” we own can make us fearful and cautious. The “things” we own can become a burden. Do I want to give up the “things” I own? Not most of them.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

I still have stuff I want to jettison . . .

We keep a donation box going at all times ~ we fill it up, drop off the stuff at Goodwill, and start working on the next box to give away. 😀

18. Barefoot Baroness - April 16, 2012

WOW! Very thought prompting post. I have to think about this one. Thank you!

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

Thanks, Baroness! My favorite posts are those that provoke thought. 😀

19. Patricia - April 16, 2012

When i was in my 30’s I hit a bump in the road, so to speak, and ended up with only my clothes and a painting my brother did. No money, no stuff, nothing, not even good health. If I had to I could let everything go again–but I hope it doesn’t happen.

Right now I am in the process of letting go of lots of extra stuff that for some reason I wanted and had to have. More to take care of than I could possibly ever need–I just wanted it. I will give it to those who have little or nothing.

As you say, ah…that’s better.

nrhatch - April 16, 2012

I wouldn’t want to start from “scratch” . . .

But if I could give my 16-year-old self some FREE advice, it would be simple . . . Don’t Buy So Much STUFF! 😉

20. Perfecting Motherhood - April 17, 2012

Haha, I can relate to your post so well today, after my car battery died!

Today, it’s my car that owned me, not the other way around…

Otherwise, I don’t have a lot of “stuff”, mostly things we use every day but I know a LOT of people who have to “get” things and can’t let go of them, even when they have no use for them.

nrhatch - April 17, 2012

Oh, have you met my parents? 😉

They are NOT hoarders with piles of JUNK around . . . but they have a tough time letting go of ANYTHING in case they might need it again. I’m pretty sure they are NEVER again going to need backpacks for the Appalachian trail, a six-person tent for summers in Maine, camping cots, canoe, canoe paddles, life preservers, etc.

Glad you got your car going again. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could recharge OUR batteries in 45 minutes?

Perfecting Motherhood - April 17, 2012

Haha, my grandparents were like that too. My grandmother saved used wrapping paper and washed foil paper to reuse it. They lived through WWI and WWII in France, so I think they had good intentions after all the rationing they went through.

nrhatch - April 17, 2012

I reuse and recycle too . . . emphasis on the recycle. 😉

21. bluebee - April 17, 2012

Depends on whether it invests us with positive or negative energy – sometimes things/people drain our positive energy – they are best left behind if possible

nrhatch - April 17, 2012

That’s a great point, BB. When I play the guitar . . . strumming its strings recharges MY batteries. Same thing when I paint or listen to certain CD’s or watch certain movies.

22. sweetdaysundertheoaks - April 17, 2012

Nancy I hang on tight to the things that make me happy, if they make me unhappy or uncomfortable I set them loose. It seems rather simple. I had a best friend from kindeegarten and she was sucking the very life out of me. After a year of gentle nudges that our friendship wasn’t working I let it all go. I have much more energy left now to devote to people and the things that make me happy. Yep, things. Like picture taking, reading, sitting Under the Oaks and walking. I am not into stuff for the house anymore. My neighbor once told me I needn’t worry about being over-decorated! Wonder exactly what she meant? 😀 Be where you are happy, do what makes you happy and learn to say no.

nrhatch - April 17, 2012

That’s so funny ~ we’ll never be “over-decorated” either. 😀

Some people really are energy vampires ~ good for you for letting it all go. Some might say, “But maybe she NEEDED you.” I would respond, “It is NOT my job to be there for her . . . that’s HER job.”

Some people are prone to dumping their crap on OUR doorstep and hoping that WE will help them sort it all out. If that’s how we want to spend our time, fine. If not, we can walk around their crap and ask them to tidy it up themselves. 😛

sweetdaysundertheoaks - April 17, 2012

We did buy a coffee table yesterday, but we really needed it. Seriously. No place to prop up our retired feeties. 😆

I heard the “she needed me” statement from her. She was wearing me out. I had nothing left to give. CH was tired of it all. Everyone else was telling me to let her go years before. I had my own crap at the time. Which I have managed to tidy up. Thank you to SLTW and your book suggestion Zen Living. 🙂

nrhatch - April 17, 2012

I love propping my feet up on the coffee table when watching TV or a movie. Aah . . . that’s better!

Here’s to tidying up our own crap! Woo Hoo!!!

23. Victoria-writes - April 17, 2012

It’s easy to let possessions take over and worry about what you have instead of what you are. You make me think as usual Nancy!

nrhatch - April 17, 2012

I’ve known people who are obsessed with handbags, clothes, cars, vacations, jewelry and other symbols of “status.” They want other people to admire them for WHAT they own, rather than for WHO they are ~ rather an empty life to lead, eh?

24. Maggie - April 17, 2012

Reminds me of a good saying: The more you own, the more owns you.

nrhatch - April 17, 2012

Indeed. If we are not mindful about what matters, the “tail” begins to wag the dog. Woof!

25. eof737 - April 22, 2012

Evenetually, IT dissipates… thankfully and life goes on., no?

nrhatch - April 24, 2012

IT has always done so for me . . . so now I say, “good-bye, good luck, godspeed.

Aah . . . that’s better!

26. Perfecting Motherhood - April 23, 2012

Anna Quindlen just wrote an article on “stuff” that’s pretty interesting and right along your lines.

nrhatch - April 23, 2012

Thanks. Sounds right up my alley.

27. jeanne - April 23, 2012

I love the Pascal quote…so true!

nrhatch - April 24, 2012

Isn’t it? I find the best way for me to write is to keep tossing ideas out . . . and then wield a scalpel to take MORE and transform it into LESS.

28. Team Oyeniyi - April 24, 2012

I need to ponder this one longer…..

nrhatch - April 24, 2012

Take you time! There’s never any rush in the NOW.

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