Letting Go

 Photo by  Alexis Nyal  of  flickr

Photo by Alexis Nyal of flickr

Originally posted on Finding Isvara on February 9th, 2017

In a couple of weeks, my family and I will be moving halfway around the world.  It’s hard to move away from your family and friends, change your routine, find a new place to live, make new friends, and sometimes even learn a new language. But these same reasons are what make it so exciting and rewarding. 

For me, moving is an adventure: an opportunity to travel, meet people, learn about different cultures and traditions. I moved away from my home country at the age of 7 and never moved back. After living in five different countries and visiting many others, I have accumulated souvenirs of all shapes and sizes from around the world. Each item tells a story and brings back memories.

The stressful part of moving is the packing; it’s amazing how many things you can accumulate in a few years. The process involves cleaning out closets, as well as sifting through books, toys, documents, and clothes. Deciding what to take, what to sell, or what to donate is a challenge! Many people live with the bare minimum. I mean, how many things do you need? If you really think about it, it's not a lot. Regardless of where you move, reducing the amount of stuff you have will make packing lighter and less stressful.

The idea of minimizing is related to the concept of Aparigraha, the last of the five yamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. It often translates to non-attachment. This yama teaches us to take only what we need, keep only what serves us in the moment, and to let go when it no longer serves us. 

When I move, I always take my furniture, decorations, and books. It makes me feel at home, wherever that may be. I try to be mindful of not filling my life with items that I don't need or that don't have a specific use. It is easy to get carried away believing that you need more stuff when all you need is what serves you in this moment. Giving away or selling your stuff can be a satisfying experience, especially when you know that others need it more than you.

Non-attachment is a work in progress, as are all the other yamas and limbs of yoga. I am learning to be more aware of what I need and what I don’t. 

Lots of love,

Carolyn