23 August, 2013

Creating Space

Friday was Power Vinyasa with Elizabeth Thomas.

That was now three days ago (though my blog history will end up creating the impression that I wrote this on the "right" day because I pre-date things to keep the history intact).

I don't remember much about the class, other than a few tidbits... we started off class by telling everyone a "word" that we really like. Most of the people picked super-positive words that reflected emotions that they like to experience, or things that represent the best situations in life. For some reason, I immediately thought of words that I just like to say, and whose meanings are specific and amusing. They weren't positive words, either of them, but I didn't choose them to be negative, nor was I feeling negative at the time. In fact, she also asked us to describe how we were feeling, and I described myself as feeling "content." My words, though, were "pontificate" and "vapid." I just thought they are good words. It got a laugh from the room, which was perhaps my ulterior motive... I recognize that as well.

Since I don't remember much else about the class, I wanted to tell you about something else.

Today I got rid of most of my college and graduate school text books. I unloaded a pile of engineering books and a pile of biology books. It was difficult for me to do, and I wasn't planning on doing it. A friend of mine is a "Personal Organizer" and she came over to help me work on a project. Part of the project was to involve moving a bookcase from one room to another. To do that, we needed to remove all the books. Unbeknownst to me, her plan was for me to also Goodwill all the books that I don't really want/need to have anymore. Initially, I said to her "I need all these books." She laughed, and asked me if I really needed them... did I really plan on ever looking at "Skeleton Crew" by Stephen King again? The answer is "no." I never plan to look at it, and am not even proud to have it on my bookshelf. So she helped me realize that there are some books that are truly of no value and I was able to discard maybe 5-10 books that way. Next I started to notice that there were a lot of books about angry political rants that I had purchased in the early 2000s when I was enraged about everything. There were books about Iraq, books about Palestine, books about Bush, books about deception in the government. After some thought, I realized that I am never going to look at those either, and that I don't even really feel like I want to populate my library with that stuff. So there went another 10 books or so. Then we came to the textbooks... These are things that I have trucked around with me from residence to residence for as many as 25 years. Freshman chemistry, physics, mathematics. Electromagnetics. Semiconductors. Quantum Mechanics. First of all, I have no need for these things anymore. Second, they're all completely outdated, except probably the mathematics, which hasn't changed that much in a few hundred years. So it really came down to two things: (1) These books have been, in my mind, defining who I am to myself in some way, and (2) There's some small amount of ego that causes me to want to keep them around because they make me seem smart. But how smart do I seem, when I no longer actually know anything that I learned from those classes?! I decided to keep only a few books that had sentimental value, such as having been authored by my own professors for whom I had much respect. The rest, probably close to 20 books, gone. And there were more things that I discarded, once I broke the seal of "clinging."

There are many things I have that I don't need anymore. I've let go of clothing that no longer suits me. Now I have let go of books. There are many other things I could consider.

Each of these severed attachments perhaps creates space for something new.

Give up what you must.

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