Letting Go

As I progress in my blogging, I start to think I’ve used titles before. Like Letting Go. I search. I don’t find it. Maybe the search bar doesn’t work like I mean it to. Or I actually haven’t titled one Letting Go. I don’t know for sure.

Either way, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Letting go. Of the past. Of stuff. Of the personal baggage that I hang on to. It’s little things.

This item went to the trash tonight:

coconut crow
Jamaican-made bird feeder from coconut.

I had purchased it from a street vendor in Jamaica – exactly which area I don’t recall. I was in Jamaica for a mission trip with my significant other. She and I are no longer together. I also have no relationship to speak of with any of the church members that went on the trip.

I think I paid $10. I could have gotten it for cheaper. But the words of a very persuasive priest came back to me.

“While talking with a parishioner,” he said in his homily, “she was bragging about how she had talked the seller down on some item she purchased on vacation.” [I believe it was in Mexico, but it could have been anywhere].

He proceeded to ask her, “Are you saying that you’re proud of taking away the money the this person needs to care for the family, put food on the table, and keep a roof over their heads?” This particular priest is an odd, joy-filled individual.

He then said, “I guess I shouldn’t go on vacation there. I’d be haggling the price up.”

So in looking at this strange coconut bird feeder, an authentic carved item from Jamaica, I couldn’t bring myself to haggle the price down.

But it no longer serves me. I took this picture of it to have the memory, but item itself has been let go.

Digital decluttering

I can remember my first computer. A two megabyte tower, DOS-based operating system. It took actual floppy disks, and I played some text-based game on it. At the time I wasn’t much of a writer, so I don’t know that the thought even occurred to me to write on it.

That computer is long since gone. Since then, I’ve used several desktop PCs, switching to MacBooks in college. I still have my original MacBook, now only usable when plugged into the wall. The next MacBook was a Pro-series, 15in. monster, and didn’t work as well as it first had when I switched it in for a 13in. last year.

Then my iCloud filled up, and I spent about two hours yesterday moving documents, videos, and miscellany to a portable hard drive.

You see, we accumulate things in our digital life too. Maybe more-so than we acquire actual things. And as they exist in 1s and 0s, we’re much less likely to do anything about them. But each additional file is one more thing that we have to worry about, say when we’re looking for something specific.

How many flash drives, CD-ROMs, and hard drives to you have to store your additional files?

Sometimes they are very important. I’ve got friends working in digital media who need a TB hard drive for each day of filming. But we have to be honest with ourselves. What do we really need?

stacks-on-mac-desktop

John McPhee on writing

I tend to think of myself as a bland storyteller. Maybe I like to explain things more than is needed. Maybe I add a lot of filler to the meat of the story. Maybe it’s just the way I process information as it happens, and thus it’s how it comes out.

So when I find a writer who has a similar syntax and rhythm in their writing, it stands out to me.

I was reading Draft No. 4, a book I purchased on recommendation, and in the first essay I noticed the familiar tone of my own voice. Now, McPhee is a treasure-trove of first-hand accounts, and his written vocabulary far exceeds my own. But the way in which he describes occurrences resonates with me – because of its similarity.

“In the late nineteen-sixties, I was working in rented space on Nassau Street up a flight of stairs and over Nathan Krasel, Optometrist. Across the street was the main library of Princeton University. Across the hall was the Swedish Massage.”

One wonderful thing about reading Progression, this first essay in Draft No. 4, is that I didn’t find it bland at all. And I suppose that I can take comfort in that.

Pulling the trigger

Nonviolently. I believe we’re all blessed with the ability to create ideas. Seth Godin, in his interview with Tim Ferris, said that the way to have good ideas is to have bad ideas. “If you put enough bad ideas into the world, sooner or later your brain will wake up, and good ideas will come.”

So, the thing to do is to put your ideas into action.

I’ve sat on ideas. I’ve seen some come to market from other people. I’ve seen some never materialize. And I’ve even put a few into the world myself – this blog for instance.

This blog isn’t anything revolutionary. It’s just my ideas, flowing out into the world. The way to get the good ideas out is to get all the ideas out. Eventually, the one that is revolutionary will make its way to its audience. And that’s when the change can happen.

More

It seems that we’re constantly in search for more. More money, more time, more freedom, more happiness.

I’m actually looking for my space on my computer, prompting this post.

And I started thinking about all that I already have. And it’s a lot. I think we accumulate a lot of stuff. Would I like more time? Sure, but I could be using the time I have a little better.

More money. Absolutely! But I don’t need to be spending the money I do have on things that aren’t enriching my life.

We often focus so much on the more, we neglect the why. And if you’re not appreciating what you currently have, then do you really need more of it?

Acknowledgements

There’s a page in the front of a book, where the author gives some form of credit or respect to those who have in some way aided or shaped the author’s life – giving way to writing this book, or just working in general. I’ve not published the book I set out to write ten years ago, but that one, when finished, will have acknowledgments of friends I’ve lost to premature deaths. Having just lost another, and not working on the book, I thought I’d post them here.

For Ryan, Martha, Jay, Julia, Steven & Sheila, Carl, Ian, Mindy, and Andy. Each was a light in my life, and I can’t think them enough.

 

Returning

The longer you wait to start something back up, the harder it can be to get it going. That’s been the case for my writing. Also some other things – yoga, reading, and decluttering, as examples.

Sometimes you get sidetracked. It happens. And it happens to everyone. No matter what the circumstance, or how long it’s been, just get back in there. Maybe you are out of the flow, and it takes longer to do what you had done before. Or you can’t do as much. But just try and get those muscles moving – those juices flowing. It feels good.

Will this be the push that gets me back in the swing? Perhaps. Perhaps not. But the important thing is to try.