September 21, 2013

Breaking Up (With your Stuff) is Hard to Do. ~ Lauren Grant

How do we pick up the pieces after a natural disaster like the one we just experienced?

Living in Boulder, we’ve all grown accustom to hearing about cleanses and now we’ve communally experienced one. I have many friends, myself included, who have either lost their possessions or their homes and chances are you’ve either been affected or know someone affected by the flood.

So, it’s understandable if it seems like a daunting task finding the silver lining in all this, especially when we have yet to see that ever promising rainbow show up in the sky. However, this tragedy can be a blessing in disguise.

Despite the physical losses and the challenges that will inevitably come with rebuilding our lives and homes, many of us have been given a rare opportunity at a fresh start and I mean this in the most sensitive, non-scandalous tone.

Living in Boulder has been such a blessing. Without question, this place embodies ecologic progressiveness, mindfulness and as we’ve seen in the past few days, has a true sense of community.

Before living here, I was never exposed to axioms like that of non-attachment. It sounds like such a great life principle in theory, but I never dreamed of having to be forced to appreciate it because let’s face it, I love Anthropologie, creating fun spaces and Rolex watches (kidding).

Yet, coming to terms with this life lesson can and will forever change your life, as it has mine, in such a short period of time.

That’s not discrediting the fact that along the way we won’t have ebbing and flowing moments of loss, but once you free your mind, your physical space and mental life of material things, the world around you starts to fill with possibility: the possibility of spending more time fully experiencing the beauty that surrounds us, the possibility of spending more quality time with the people we care about most (and maybe even people we don’t care so much about, but will grow to), the possibility of being less selfish and more community-centered and the possibility of living a life free of desires that aren’t related to our emotional, physical or spiritual growth.

It’s probably safe to assume that collectively, at some point, we have all been guilty of spending too much energy and focus on material things, being possessive in relationships or allowing ourselves to dwell on negative thoughts and worries. But, if this disaster is going to teach us just one thing, it’s that we need to let go.

Because, in that moment of letting go, we become more free.

“Attachment is the origin, the root of suffering; hence it is the cause of suffering.”

~ The Dalai Lama

Please let me be completely honest here. Until the other day, I was certainly preoccupied with presenting both myself and my home in a way that I previously thought was therapeutic and zen-like, but in reality, I was still spending way too many waking hours thinking about objects, not to mention that until the flood came rushing down the canyon, I didn’t even know my neighbors.

So, yes, while this was not the way we were planning on learning how to let the superfluous objects in our lives go, this has truly been a gift and it can be for all of us if we’re willing to breath through and let go of the grief so that we can collectively look up and see the rainbow…or double rainbow if we’re lucky.

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Assistant Ed: Steph Richard/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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