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Three bedrooms, three thousand books and thirty three boxes

Updated: Jun 10, 2021

Okay, Well Maybe We Die with a Few Things…

The third episode (Die With Nothing) went out and I feel like I might be responsible for an uptick in thrift shop deposits!!

My sister called her son yesterday, my nephew, to say hi – he was cleaning out the basement. She asked how the “girls” were (his wife and 2 daughters) and he said “them? Oh they are upstairs cleaning out all of their closets!!” I already knew this because she had texted me asking if I wanted a pink Gaiam yoga mat and a donabe[1] they didn’t use.

What? The point was not to give ME more things! The point was to recognize what we really need and not to buy more in the first place. Anyway, then my mom called and asked me if I could send the episode to her best friend because she has so many things in her condo. And then my mom texted me later and said “do you want this shelving unit? – we are decluttering!”

I think back to the time when I was moving from Ohio to New York to work. Granted, I was young and poor, but I did manage to squeeze into my 1969 Cutlas everything that was important (or, if unimportant, at least of value to me) and head off to New York, not knowing where I would even spend the night when I got there. Can we talk about freedom?? Nothing behind me, everything in front and life was so good. I mean life is still good, but the Cutlas is gone and I’m not sure I could fit even all of my yoga equipment into my car now.

And then the time when I sold, gave away, threw away, the entire contents of a 3-bedroom house in Los Angeles to move to London to be with my new love. A kayak, dining room table, beds, about 3,000 books, clothes, shoes, everything had to go! When it was all cleared out, I had only 33 small boxes of things to ship – everything I owned in 33 little boxes. The day before the shipping company came, I stacked them in the middle of my living room. And then I had a very, very strong urge to grab my purse, my keys, and just walk out and leave them there. How free would that be?? Age 40, literally the clothes on my back, and a plane ticket to London. I did actually walk to the door, open it and step out – just to see if I could really do it. Almost. Almost.

What’s funny is that when the boxes arrived in London, my new husband said, “Wow! How can you have so much stuff!?!?” I said, oh, if only you knew.

Well good. If the episode helped just a little in furthering the pursuit of non-grasping, non-coveting (or aka aparigraha), then I am more than happy. I was happy too, getting reviews from people saying they loved the weaving in of so many things – cake stands, Subway cookies, death cafes, Bhutan – that when stitched all together told the story of how we hold onto things, when what we really need is to let go. And in that letting go, we let love in. And really, this is what everything is about - how well we learn to love.


[1] A Japanese ceramic hot pot. And I only know this because I had to look it up!

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