Friday, March 23, 2007

valuable things

From Peace Pilgrim's Steps Toward Inner Peace:

After a wonderful sojourn in the wilderness, I walked again along the streets of a city which was my home awhile. It is 1:00 p.m. Hundreds of neatly-dressed human beings with pale or painted faces are hurrying in rather orderly lines to and from their places of employment.

. . . On both sides of us as we walk are displayed the things which we can buy if we are willing to stay in the orderly lines, day after day, year after year. Some of the things are more or less useful, many are utter trash - some have a claim to beauty, many are garishly ugly. Thousands of things are displayed - and yet the most valuable things are missing. Freedom is not displayed, nor health, nor happiness, nor peace of mind. To obtain these, my friends, you too may need to escape from the orderly lines and risk being looked upon disdainfully.

Peace Pilgrim was a woman who walked 25,000 miles on a quest for peace. She accepted no money, ate only when someone fed her or she could find food in the wild, slept outside unless offered a bed. She began her walks for peace in the era of the Korean war and McCarthyism. She remained committed to spiritual growth and love until her death in 1981.

I am decluttering my little cottage this weekend. Too much stuff has appeared since this was last accomplished. Paper, clothes, intriguing little treasures, gifts, irresistibles from auctions: even from behind closed doors of closets and cabinets, I feel the presence of these things like sand in my shoes and the awareness is a weight I want lifted. I'm thinking of rolling up the rugs, yanking the slipcovers off the sofa. It's time to move from flannel sheets to linen, to cull the books, the bottles of perfume, the canned foods we'll never eat (where did that stewed okra come from?), to thin the collections, remove, get rid of, throw away, donate, get it gone.

If not for a wish for marital harmony, I'd get it all gone, this lifetime collection of antiques and treasures which used to feed my soul. Funny how that changes. I still love my old things, I just find that I want way less of them. I am past ready to release the collections and the obsessive urge that created them. Off to work.


Blogger FAT BITCH said...


I've loved Peace Pilgrim for a long, long time and was thrilled to see that you wrote about her on your blog.

We have something else in common - I love Barbara Boxer too!!!!!!!! :D

March 23, 2007 4:01 PM  
Blogger Lotuslander said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 24, 2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Lotuslander said...

My husband hates to throw anything away and we used to own a new and used furntiture business, but I like to live without clutter, not as extreme as Paty's friend white room on Ab-Fab ) but the weight of too many things can be oppressing. Yet I hate that minimalist look so many avant garde types aspire too where it feels like a science fiction medical labatory. Balance is everything. Your story about that woman who walked all those miles for peace was inspiring, yet it reminds me of something I'd do in a manic phase, but I hope that doesn't sound unkind. What about that trip to Vancover Belle. I'd love, love, love to meet you, and play tourist guide at least for a day. I'd think you'd find it fascinating. August is gorgeous, warm, sunny but not hot.

March 24, 2007 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Tater said...

Sounds like spring time is bringing the longing out in you to start things fresh again. Never a bad idea. It's doing the same to me as well. I am constantly amazed by the depth of humanity, whether it be a selfless woman on a peace March, or the lunatic ramblings of the fearful religious right, we are a very lovely and strange animal. Send the stewed Okra my way! I love it and miss it dearly! I used to have to pick and can it with my family, but I still love it. Especially pickled with hot peppers. YUM!

March 24, 2007 12:46 PM  

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