Our hearts know that our real treasures are not in the attic or contained in any physical thing. Our hearts know that real treasures are simply moments and people. Our fear clouds what our hearts see so clearly. Our fear tells us to hold on so we don’t lose or miss something. The problem is that fear makes us hold so tightly that we forget what matters and miss so much.
When I went to Italy last March, the only thing I purchased, that I didn’t eat or drink, was a journal. I’ve since filled it up with thoughts and words and now it’s in the burn pile. I didn’t buy anything else to remind me about my European adventure because the memories are triggered when I talk to my parents, hear churning coffee beans in an espresso machine, or look at my dad’s Instagram feed.
The greatest treasures from that trip were sitting around beautifully set dinner tables, helping me hang laundry with a view of rolling Tuscan hills, and walking with me through narrow cobblestone streets. The treasures were laughter, train rides, art, and connection, and especially the moments in the middle.
My daily treasures are walks through the neighborhood, writing on my porch, and cuddling with my dog. My treasures are early morning hikes with my husband, and laughing over Skype with my daughter. I enjoy the little treasures too like …
- rooftop dinners
- slow roasting tomatoes
- meeting friends for writing dates
- a good book
- a new recipe
Of course I own things, but they are just things. Once you connect with and identify your real treasures, the rest is just stuff and you can finally let go.
Make a list of everyone and everything that is important in your life. It’s ok to include an actual thing if it fits the bill, but only keep the run into a burning building to save important on this list.
List the stuff that you use everyday, actually use. Include the clothes you wear, kitchen utensils, and anything else that contributes to your daily life.
Make a third list of the things you own that you may not use, but that you love or enjoy. Art on the wall or a great book might fall into this category.
Let everything else go. This is the scariest step of all, but it is also the most freeing. We gave away 75% or more of the stuff that filled our 2000 square foot home and not once have we wished we had held on. We don’t miss it, and barely remember what it was.
If you can’t let it go, box it up unlabeled for 60 days. If you don’t miss it, need it or remember it, finally let it go and give everything and everyone on the first list more of your love, time and attention.
The things that didn’t make the first three lists will probably include:
- just in case items
- gifts from people whose feelings you don’t want to hurt
- sentimental items that don’t have a place in your home
- things you are saving because you think other people want them
- other things that you held onto because it was easier than letting go
Letting go may happen in waves and stages because that’s where the fear lies. The fear will tell you that you will need that stuff someday. The fear will tell you that your neighbors have it all and so should you. Then the fear will tell you that if you let it go, you won’t have enough, and that if you don’t have enough, you won’t be enough.
Keep coming back to the first list you made as a reminder of what matters most. That is where your heart is and love trumps fear.
No matter how much money you make or save, how many boxes you store, or trinkets you buy, you’ll never be more content, healthy, happy or loved. Nothing you own will bring someone back in your life or make someone in your life love you more.
Fear can’t compete with the strength of your love. You are so much more than what you own or don’t own. If you want a joyful life that is full of love and happiness, align your actions with your heart.
When you finally let go, your love will silence the fear, and your heart will embrace your real treasures.