Aparigraha means non-hoarding, non-possessiveness. This one was a little difficult for me to figure out, since in my head, I'm not materialistic at all. In my head I'm still the girl who packed everything she needed into a Toyota Corolla and drove off to live at the Grand Canyon. I get rid of things, I give books to the library; I go to clothing swaps and try to give away as much as I acquire.
But then I head down to the coal rooms.
There are still two half-boxes of dishes I still haven't unpacked after two years, because I don't currently have the space to store them in my kitchen. Two years, now, they've been down there, and I clearly haven't needed them.
Come to think of it, I have more dishes than I need, and some are even chipped. I deserve to eat off dishes that aren't chipped - particularly since I own plenty of dishes that aren't chipped.
And then there are the books, and the teacher things that I hold onto, because I'm not sure I'm done teaching. Holding onto ideas and pieces of identity is a kind of hoarding, too.
Don't even get me started on the fabric stash, and the t-shirts that I'm going to modify when I get around to it. I was un- and underemployed for 5 months and didn't make much of a dent in them other than making some burp cloths for Vivacious P and modding two shirts, only one of which I've worn out in the world.
For a year, the old medicine cabinet was in the basement, because I was going to take it to Construction Junction. I put it out and someone picked it up for scrap, and I didn't even have to drive it anywhere. I admit that I took a second look at the mirrored doors when I put them out for trash collection today, thinking, what else could I do with these? Could I spray paint the metal? Could I attach them to a wall? And I had to tell myself, no, there's nothing I could do with these other than prop them on something, and they're not even stylish. Out they go.
I used to go garbage-picking in New York, seeing what other people threw away. I salvaged several bookshelves for my classroom, which I passed on to other teachers when I left. I still have a bit of the garbage-picker in me. A couple weeks ago I picked a guitar out of someone's garbage (it was right on the top, I swear!) but found it was broken. I thought I could push it back into shape, paint and decoupage it. But a guitar and I really have nothing to do with one another. I'm not a creator of music. I could invest a lot of time and energy into creating an art piece to sell, and would it sell? Who knows. I should invest my limited time and energy into creating art for my own walls. Even though I was going to be late for work, down to the basement I went to get it for today's trash collection, before I changed my mind.
I mean, I'm not saying I'm going to ditch it all, sell the house, and live in my truck - though I think it's great that there are people who can go where their dreams take them without needing to hold on to things or places. One of the things I really wanted was roots; I was rootless and temporary for so long. But there are many things, both physical and ephemeral, that are weighing me down.
So, a yama that I thought was easy, turns out to be what this blog really is about.
I did find one thing down there that might be worth keeping.