A hoarder was on Oprah today, talking about her addiction & dysfunction. Talking about buying too much STUFF. I know that feeling well. I felt it every time I went shopping with the women I worked with, buying copious amounts of clothing and footwear in the latest style. Tastes being similar, I would come home with ANOTHER blue dress, fifty variations of the same black dress.
Shopping, brought forth a major panic. It was palpatable in all of us. We maxed out our credit cards competing to be the “biggest shopper”: feeding the void. Trouble with it was, I would feel a down the next day, very similar, in fact EXACTLY similar to when I would partake in an illegal substance with a college boyfriend. A football player, we would stay up all night partying and “having fun”. Trouble is, the next day, usually Sunday, would be worthless and not only would I not get anything done, I would feel like I shaved my cat, and killed it with a long lingering death. I would feel lower than worm scum.
I come about hoarding and saving honestly. I grew up on 360 acres, with parents from the depression who never threw anything away, never knew when they may need something that they weren’t currently using. Farm equipment, worn past the point of being functional, was hauled out to the woods and parked in a row: you never knew when you may need it for parts or have cause to get it running again. Old bread sacks were cleaned and reused instead of buying plastic bags, tissues were too much of a luxury to buy. We would can vegetables in the summer for weeks at a time, and semi-prescribed to the belief that you needed to have five years worth of food available in the house at all times- you know, in case there was a storm.
The house I grew up in is fairly large- 4 bedrooms upstairs and a full apartment on the side with a kitchen, living room, stairs and bedroom. My whole life we never had the number of people to fill each bedroom, so there always was a spare room to store stuff and hide it away, just in case you may need it or use it further down the road.
The other hoarding reason is one you don’t think of when you are younger: That you simply have outgrown the usefulness of some of your stuff. Case in point, the cd tower and cd collection. I made a point to collect a library of music, and some of these albums-cds- whatever it is we call it now- I have purchased in several formats: cd, album, 8track (yes I am admitting I had 8 tracks) and cassette. Now, they sit in the corner of the living room, the last time I played them being when I downloaded them into my computer & I pod. Yet, I am hesitant to kick them to the curb. It took time to collect them, and I may need them someday. Same with the wall unit I stretched myself to purchase: it has outgrown its usefulness to hold a TV. Remembering how much I paid for it, I cringe at wantonly discarding it. Did the same thing happen when civilization transformed from a horse riding population to an automobile culture? Did people sell their carriages or leave them out by the curb for the garbage man? Did they go thru as much angst letting go of THINGS?
Working with clients, the biggest difference I see between people and animals are the human inclination to become their STORY. Humans define themselves by what happened yesterday, the clothes they wear, what they drive and their stuff. A cat or dog will drop their story easily, walk into a new life like an actor in a play and be totally present in the immediate moment. If we define ourselves by our stuff, what does it mean that we hold onto much more than we need? If we give our stuff away, are we still the same person?
I challenge you to go thru your possessions. Look at each one with a frank, clear perspective. Does this item define who I am today? Am I carrying this thru life with me because it has sentimental value? Is this the way I want to be seen?
As far as the addictive potential for shopping, buying and owning things, I suggest transference of affection. Creating. We all have the desire to fill the void with something. The great thing about creating is that it brings you into the present moment- you can’t be swamped in memories or worried about the future. If you go within, who knows what you will find. That is how I became aware of the spirit guides & angels. The void becomes the superhighway to the spirit. It can be a little boring at first, but when you make the connection, a whole new world opens up, and it is available to you without a credit card.
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