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Last weekend my friend Crystal held her “nothing stays” yard sale for what remained of their belongings in order to travel unencumbered. She and her husband were clearly tired. Turning your life upside down in about two months is no small task. And letting go of things with which various attachments were formed is daunting for most. I noticed items from their travels abroad (wall hanging, handmade art, table decorations) which they were selling for, I’m sure, pennies on the dollar. I can only imagine these things carried associated memories from various experiences which helped shape their self identities. They sold two ukuleles, symbolic of someone’s musical inclinations. Yoga mats, hand weights, a knitting bag…various hobbies developed over time, defining interests. This day could not have been easy.  Yet, I was impressed by how they carried through with their commitment to detach themselves from their things. To disassociate their self-value from their net worth. To be who they are outside of what they have.

Most impressive was their attitude of abundance. While I have struggled during past garage sales over the low price I received compared to what I paid, or with whether I should really get rid of something I rarely used, I never heard either of them grumble about their “losses.” During the sale, they even looked for an instruction book (for a dollar item), helped carry purchases to people’s cars, patiently answered questions and were ever generous with their friends. They did not worry about their “return on investment.” In fact, it was if they were certain that what goes around, comes around and therefore their generosity will pay dividends. At the end of the day they carried everything overlooked by friends and strangers out to another stranger’s trailer who was taking everything left for free…again without complaint.

I am thankful for their modeling. They offered a great lesson in reducing and simplifying. With the commitment to downsize and simplify comes the need to release gracefully. And to believe that only after we let go will our hands be open to what awaits.