What is #CancerRoadTrip and how did it come to be? Read this post to get the backstory!
Aparigraha is the last of the five yamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. It often translates to ‘non-greed’, ‘non-possessiveness’, and ‘non-attachment’.
I am reading The Eight Limbs of Yoga, a gift from Bhava Ram. I do not think of myself as a greedy person, but the act of cleaning out my house would suggest otherwise.
I have far too many “things”. What was my intent in buying all this? Why did I hold onto it all for so long? What emotional purpose did it serve?
Consider for a moment the contents of your closets, garage and other storage areas. If you are like most of us, you will agree that you have far too much stuff. While this is not an overtly immoral or criminal act, it arises from the greed that has been imposed upon us by consumer consciousness and mass marketing. It is a form of external obesity, and just as obesity in the body causes a host of health problems, this external heaviness impacts our mental balance and well being.
I am “externally obese”.
My quest for things was a quest for beauty and perfection. I am very visual and it soothed me. It was in some ways an outward expression of what I felt within. But it was also bound in the throes of perfectionism and consumerism, a wonderful cultural means of distraction.
I’ve already sent dozens of boxes of books to the used book store. Reading has always been my favorite past time but now I keep many things electronically. I suspect I have another half dozen or so boxes that can also find their way to a new home.
I gave a beautiful set of china away. It brought me no pleasure. Some one else should enjoy it.
Similarly, my party things are finding a home with people who entertain. With cancer, so many people and activities have passed me by, that I don’t really socialize that much anymore.
I have a set of old American Heritage magazines that belonged to my father. It’s one of the only things I have from him. They look great on a book shelf, but I never read them. Ditto for my years of Map Collector, although I do occasionally enjoy revisiting those. My history and cartography books are not negotiable. They represent a combination of past and adventure that I find endlessly fascinating. Those stay, at least for now.
For many years, one of my favorite consumer pastimes was Peruvian Connection. I’m not a clothes horse, but I love the quality of the company’s alpaca and cotton; I love the arty and unusual designs. Year after year, with each catalogue, I accumulated more things. Beautiful sweaters, vests, skirts. None of it was inexpensive and I had more than any reasonable person ever needed.
As I clean out my house, I wonder what am I going to do with all this? I am externally obese and I need to shed a few pounds.
I also need to cultivate non attachment when it comes to ThinkTLC. For months I couldn’t sleep; I was unable to eat, or what I did manage to eat, came right back up; the stress made my hair fell out.
ThinkTLC was my life-force and with no response to my emails; no code or product; and a refusal to communicate in any way, the tech creeps were stealing my life force.
I have many skills for stress management after eight years of living with cancer. My normal twice daily refuge of meditation eluded me. I practiced, but I could not still my mind. My exercising had fallen off, with the pain in my hip that resulted FROM the surgery. Yes my hip was better, I could walk, but I was still in almost daily pain. The orthopod suggested a series of injections that might help. I passed and headed for the yoga studio.
Intellectually I realized that eventually, with enough money, lawyers would find a resolution to ThinkTLC which was supposed to have been lauched in September 2016. But letting go, giving up the life-force that has propelled me forward, was–and is–a lesson in non-attachment to an outcome and in non-possessiveness that cuts to the very core of my soul.
“Dare to live by letting go.” – Tom Althouse
I need to give up a life to get a life. I’ve done this before; I can do this again. But what is the cost?