If you had five minutes to leave your home forever, what would you take? What would you choose to leave behind? Think about it for a minute. Why do you keep what you keep? If you could let it go in a moments notice, do you still want it now? You might and that’s okay. I know I have many things I love but could leave that I still want them now. It’s just good to take a mental inventory once in a while to really know why you’re keeping what you’re keeping.
Yesterday morning I went downstairs and was standing in my bedroom smelling something burning. It was more like a plastic melting smell and not something on fire. So my husband and I scoured the place. We searched every outlet, unplugged every cord, checked each light, everything. Still we couldn’t place the smell. After about ten minutes of hunting and not finding the answer I stood in the middle of my room looking around and thinking, “what if there’s something burning in the walls and we’re going to have a fire soon? Am I ready? How long would I have until I needed to bolt out of there? What would I take? What am I willing to leave behind?”
We have our emergency backpacks packed and in the garage but it was a good time to mentally take inventory of what’s in those too, pretty sure it’s been a looooong time since those were updated. So as I stood there I just realized that while I would be very sad if our beautiful home and all our style and decor were destroyed. I could leave them because those things are not what bring me my joy. Those things are just that, things.
Natural Disasters and Calamities Happen
A fire, a natural disaster and calamity – those events are just another circumstance in life. We get to choose what we’ll make of those circumstances. Things like that happen, a lot. We know they happen. We know we’re not exempt from them. We hope and pray and live in a state of scarcity that it won’t happen to us but what if we didn’t have to live in fear about that? What if we could decide ahead of time what the things we keep mean to us now and decide now what matters most to us? Plan ahead of time what we would make the loss of those things mean?
Prepare Ahead of Time
I was so touched by an experience I heard about a couple from Idaho had been traveling when they heard the Teton Dam broke and enormous damages had been ensued. They hurried back to Rexburg and instead of going home they went searching for their bishop to see where they could help. They helped for days cleaning up muck and helping others. When they finally did make it home they saw they had no home to return home to. The entire street was cleared out. So instead of breaking down at this great loss they instead asked if there was anyone else they could help. (Read Story HERE) – I believe they decided ahead of time what the material things in their house meant to them and made conscious decisions of what really mattered to them so that when a very unexpected calamity happened they didn’t need to waste precious energy processing what happened. They could turn around and use their gifts to help lift others.
This path is right for everyone. I’m not saying that we all should think and do the things this couple did. I’m not sure if I could! I am saying that we have an opportunity NOW to take note of what we have. To appreciate it and to make an inventory of it. What we own, what that means to us, and what it would mean if we lost it. What could you walk away from?
“Your Grandma is Not the Blanket”
Jody Moore said that there are things we keep only because we think they hold “sentimental value”. They are not being used and loved regularly is just taking up space (and energy) to that she said, it’s not a viable enough reason to keep it. “Your Grandma is not the blanket.”* If you don’t use and love it, you can probably do without it.
Everything Takes Energy
Brooke Castillo once taught that everything you own takes energy to keep. She taught that it takes energy to purchase it, to pay for it, to dust it, clean it, think about it, decide where to put it, decide if you want to keep it there, think about it each time you see it, decide again if you like it, what you think about it, etc. Everything we own takes more and more of our energy. We don’t really think about it but it does. How much of that energy are you willing to continue spending on the things in your home? How much of what you own is worth that much time, energy, and thought? Look around your home right now, what would you be willing to leave behind? What could you do without? What are you hanging onto just because you think you “should” keep it? Take a look into your reasoning WHY you’re keeping it still. Most of the time it’s not a viable reason to keep it.
The Ugly Statue
A friend of ours gifted us this statue once. It wasn’t my taste or style. If I saw it at a store I would have kept walking right by. But because our friend gave it to us and was so excited about it I held onto that things for YEARS – like NINE years because I was afraid that she might pop in and ask about it. That to show her I love and appreciate the gesture I had to keep it. Let me tell you this…NEVER ONCE did she ask about it. I don’t even know if she saw it where I had it. My reasons for keeping it were plain silly and not really a viable reason for keeping it. I wasted so much energy each time I walked by it – which was a lot. I thought each time I saw it, “Man, I hate that thing. It’s so ugly.” I dusted it. I moved it several times in my house trying to find creative ways to hide it as much as possible from my view but still in plain sight if she ever stopped by. When we moved I finally got rid of it and passed it on to the thrift store because it might be right up someone else’s alley. I wasted so much time thinking about that thing that I sorely disliked INSTEAD of questioning my thinking about it. It would have taken a whole 2 minutes to come to the conclusion that my reasoning for keeping it was just silly and not a good enough one to actually keep it. Yet we do that stuff to ourselves all the time. I bet you have some things right now that you’re keeping for silly reasons. Question those reasons. Do you like your answers? Are you willing to expend more energy on them?
What Really Matters?
In that moment standing in the middle of my room all I wanted to keep was my family. In the end of it all, that’s really all that matters. Don’t get me wrong, I love my home and I love the things that make it personal and homey. But it also gave me pause to think: If what really matters are my family and that’s the most important for me – how much energy am I spending on things, that I could be spending on loving them instead?
It doesn’t take much to dust a painting or a dish. I’m also not saying that every waking hour we need to be lavishing over our family – they need space and we need space! I’m just asking each of us to take a mental inventory of what you have, how much energy are you expending on keeping it? Is that where you’d like your energy to be going? Would your energy be better spent somewhere else? Somewhere where your priorities are more strongly put?
Look Around Your Home
Think about it today. Look around. What would you be willing to leave behind? Then if you can leave it, do you still want it now?
I’d be curious to hear your answers and what you’d keep and leave. If you get a second write it in the comments or shoot a quick email. Have a wonderful, thoughtful day!
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The Life Coach School – Brooke Castillo
Jody Moore – Bold New Mom