Clearing the Way

Snow covered pathway toward sunshine

“You spend the first half of your life acquiring

and the second half discarding.”


Red pick-up truck loaded with cabinets, chairs, washing machine

Loading the pick-up truck with things too good to discard, I recalled traveling this multifarious path before. Most of my life actually. From Mom setting up our apartment after my parents divorce, to my returning home from college…to storing relics in my barn while building a dream home…to housing family memorabilia upon my father’s death, then brother’s divorce – one and two, and mother’s passing. Soon my life became crammed with mementos of everyone’s past. Things too good to discard. Things once thought they couldn’t be lived without…have become things forgotten about.


Reuse and recycle is anything but new.


Materialistic I am not. Scottish resourcefulness and being raised by parents of the Great Depression indoctrinated me with environmental concepts early on. That includes donating gifts I’ll never use (but also means holding on to some “just-in-case” items that might not get used).


If something comes in, something must go.


While crazed Black Friday shoppers raced toward the acquisition gate, my wish list focused on meaningful experiences — engaging time with dear ones, sensational restaurants, bucket-list travel, living theater, musical concerts of varied genres — non-materialistic things that proffer a pleasing energy without depleting space. Kind of like “green giving.”


Face unused possessions with, “Do I really need this?”


Tidbits of loyalty complicate clearing away. How could I discard my mother’s high school class graduation photo? It feels disrespectful to give it to the Salvation Army (Would they want it anyway?) and Heaven forbid, I could not throw it in the trash. I just couldn’t. Yet, what am I going to do with it, except store it in the basement…like the dusty china and crystal rarely used…or my dad’s wartime souvenirs, drawings, and bosun’s whistle that I’m still secretly hoping some organization would want to display.


Stuff carries personal and planetary responsibilities.


When I pass, will my remaining belongings wait for a stranger to unload...along with numerous other keepsakes and prized possessions of each person in my life? Is that the usual way out…leave heaps of stuff for someone else who holds no attachment? It would be easier emotionally for them to clear out but an unfair and monumental task. Besides, what about the planet?

Like the environmentally-conscious youth culture who rejects using existing quality made, real wood furniture, opting instead for put-it-together junk composed of compressed wood chips and plastic veneers that won’t last — it doesn’t make sense to me (or for our rapidly filling planet).


How we deal with stuff can mirror how we deal with life.


Boxes of hats, shoes, purses, furs, evening wear to get rid of

After decades of carrying boxes from place to place, and shuffling moments from one building to another, I’ve realized I often compartmentalize emotions in challenging times, putting them in boxes until I can appropriately deal with them. Same holds true for family stuff. My mom became a hoarder who couldn’t let go. My brother tossed things from his immediate sight. I’m the organized one…with the boxes.


Saying, “It’s served its purpose,” makes it easier to let go.


When it gets too much, and the clutter of memories swallows up my space, I need to let go. Now, that I have so many of my brother’s belongings I’ve begun clearing more of my mother’s past. The evening gowns, furs, and hats that she could never vacate from her apartment are leaving my home.


Mother Nature naturally knows how to clear the way.


After delivering 17 jam-packed carloads of my mom’s stuff and 15 of my brother’s to charities, and a lot of my dad’s history to the auctioneer, I’ve sworn I would never do this to my benefactors. Making arrangements for one’s personal belongings — no matter how small, is a loving but often forgotten piece of estate planning. Even Mother Nature, when overloaded with piles of leaves or debris, sends in sheets of rain or a gust of wind to clear the wreckage of the past.

Colorful autumn leaves blowing in the forefront of an evergreen forest

Do you consider what comes into your space? Have you cleared out family possessions? Are you in an acquiring or discarding mode? 

You Decide

There’s been a lot of hype about the impending total solar eclipse.  I’ve never been one to do something just because “everyone else is doing it.” The same with technology. I don’t have to have the latest and greatest, or any at all because “everyone else has one.” To me, that’s a lazy excuse for not making conscious choices and for robbing myself of my individuality. I’ve felt the same about the upcoming solar eclipse.

I haven’t had a desire to view the eclipse, even when friends are traveling for optimal viewing or scrambling for special glasses. I don’t know what your plans are but you may want to take into account the less discussed ill effects of the total solar eclipse, and some protective measures you can take at the time.

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According to Indian rishis, the energy field is so strong when there is an absence of lunar or solar electromagnetic radiation that these ecliptic areas of space become unique fields of electromagnetic radiation and affect man’s duality of consciousness.  Exposing oneself to the vibratory effects of an eclipse is unfavorable.  Be vigilant to avoid being affected by the eclipse’s inauspicious influence and adjust your actions and awareness to accommodate larger universal energies:

  • Being outside amplifies the effects on one’s electrical body.  Instead, stay indoors and chant mantras such as the protective Maha Mritunjaya mantra.
  • Do not cook food, and fast if possible. If any food is sitting around, keep it covered.
  • Three days before and after an eclipse are considered unlucky for important new beginnings such as marriage, starting a business, and other important actions.

Someone who traveled to Ayers Rock in the Outback of central Australia to have a full vision of the sky and developing full solar eclipse said that almost immediately, and for the following year, he experienced enormous loss and difficulties.  He deeply regrets viewing the eclipse and said he would never do it again.

As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I have felt exhausted as the eclipse approaches and  have cancelled many activities in the name of self-care.  My conscience would not rest easy if I did not pass along this less-known information on the approaching eclipse.

However, as a tiny update to this post, since sharing this info with friends has created lively discussion on various interpretations on this eclipse,  I have now personalized my own observance of this significant day.  Moments before the eclipse began, I picked a colorful garden bouquet.  Now, I am staying inside listening to the Maha Mritunjaya mantra and writing my intentions for the coming year.  I will then shower away past emotional baggage during the height of the eclipse.

This is all in the spirit of Take what you like and leave the rest.” I would love to hear how the total solar eclipse affects you and what you decide to do during this time.