My parents are constantly “trying to clear out stuff.” My dad will be 84 in 11 days and my mom is 75. Talk about years of accumulating and saving stuff “just in case.” Can you imagine what it must have been like to be raised by parents who had lived through The Great Depression? I can’t. But it makes complete sense to me why my mom couldn’t part with 2 empty plastic film cases, 2 empty little cardboard jewelry boxes, 3 decks of cards that have gone unused for years, and other random little “chotskies.” I tried to convince her to part with these inanimate, unused objects today but no such luck. There is just so much subconscious fear lurking in the shadows. I can’t control how my parents act; nor am I responsible for their actions. But I do have a choice; I have control as to how I get to approach every moment with them. And today, as I watched my mom get overwhelmed and frustrated with useless possessions, I chose empathy and love. It was not easy and I did catch some initial anger and frustration brewing, but I was conscious of this, I was present, and made a different choice.
Check out this post on Zen Habits, one of my favorite blogs. This post really resonated with me today. The man behind the blog, Leo Babauta, also has a pretty cool story. Oh and in case you didn’t get this memo…you can’t take it with you people.