Saturday, February 20, 2010


I clicked on a link to a blog about minimalism recently.

Before the page was even loaded I was thinking, "To be so naive." I'm not unbiased. I don't claim to be.

There was a post about a man in Australia who was giving away his millions, and the author wrote something about how it was another example that joy was not to be found in stuff.

To be so naive.

The whole concept of minimalism has filtered in and out of my thoughts often since the fire. I don't think I'm an overly materialistic person (though the person who commented about my frustration over re-ordering Pottery Barn picture frames has often made me wonder if I come across that way). I like things. I have attachment to my things. I guess if that makes me materialistic, I am.

But it's not just the stuff. It's the meaning behind the stuff. I think most of our stuff has a story. And for me, a writer, the story is a property of the item, and it cannot be removed from the "stuff."

It's one thing when we choose to get rid of our possessions, enter a life of non-attachment, non-stuffness. But even then, I wonder if there are still things for which we are attached. Buddhist monks, for example, are known to beg for food, holding out bowls in which they are given nourishment. Do those monks have an attachment to their bowls? Can they not tell their bowl's story? Is that bowl not stuff?

When our possessions are forcefully taken from us, I think we have an even deeper attachment to the things, even if the day before we were considering taking those things to the Thrift Store so that they could continue their journey and give someone else a story.

I don't know if my stuff gives me joy, per se. But I do know that the loss of it gives me pain.

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