Do you hear that chuckle? or is it a great burst of laughter? Perhaps it's a cry of desperation. Regardless, letting go of the material may seem like the most difficult thing an individual, hell an entire country, could achieve.
Let me begin with a disclaimer. I titled this as "The Art of Letting Go" implying I have mastered it. Rest assured, I have not. But art is messy. A process. That long, drawn out journey requiring the traveler to backtrack, reroute, and revise his or her entire plan.
So let's break it down together.
For part one of "Materialism" I want to focus on items we purchase. Ah yes, that dreaded little monkey of "buy buy buy" and "now now now." Even as I type, the monkey digs his nails into my spine and releases dreaded poison into my spongy wrinkles. Antidote or cure? Not without effort.
Break it down? Sure, let's dive into it. I tend to waste extra money on a game called Magic the Gathering. Whether I buy single cards valued anywhere between $1 to $40, packs at 3.99 a pop, or a box of 36 packs for a cool 99.99, I find myself attached and attracted, captured and enslaved by those little rectangles of cardboard.
Anymore so than clothes...video games...headphones...CDs (do those still exist?)...comic books...ear rings...tattoos? The solid. The physical. If it has a value we can buy it. And we will, if it entertains or delights us. Now, I am not saying these things are inherently bad or that we should completely do away with them. An issue arises, however, when we see it become a problem and can't, under our own will power, keep from flicking out that cash for the product. (This is the spot in the narrative/discourse where I wonder if I am making a difference at all--or whether this even matters. Self-defeating thoughts--obsess...obsess...obsess. I only write this now because I figure it is best for my readers to understand. None of us have it all together. Some of us may write, teach, perform, or play like we do--but most times it is a façade. The show of confidence--or the faking of it--takes real practice. As does positive self-talk. But more into all of that later. Back to Materialism.)
Every other day I tell myself, "I'm done buying needless crap. Going to sell my magic cards and get rid of the ps4. Sell the TV. Cut the internet speed. Going dark. Use time wisely. Pray more. Meditate. Read. Spend quality time with my children and wife. Grow vegetables. Write. Write. Write. Record. Repeat."
Obviously I didn't do it. But when has going to extremes ever worked well?
I sell my cards. Actually sold $600 worth last week. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I am glad. Feel like I am doing the responsible thing. On the other hand, I am feeling like a dolt and wishing I hadn't sold so many. Some yes, but not as many as I did.
Why do I--any of us--experience these feelings? The cards are things. Meaningless. Right?
Thin line I'm riding.