Letting Go.

Jan 04, 10 Letting Go.

Alright, internets, I told you I might vent a little…and here I go!

Todd is now mostly to California, and if I want to see him again anytime soon then I’ve got to get this house put together!

Here’s where packing and I don’t mix…it involves not only putting together everything that is special and that we’ll need to take with us, but also getting rid of or giving away a whole bunch of stuff that we don’t want to take with us. And I have a hard time letting things go. I mean, a psychotically hard time. I save everything that I associate with a memory, to the point of any kind of ticket to an event or transportation…trinkets…cards and notes…just now I found a bunch of candy wrappers with cute sayings on them that I wanted to save. I’ve been known, back in the day, to hold on to gum wrappers from old boyfriends. The only thing keeping me clean and tidy, rather than living in some kind of jam packed overstuffed house where one day they have to pry me out through an open window because there’s no path to the door, is Todd and his immaculate ways.

The biggest part of this move is choosing to let it all go. We’ve decided to go ahead and take a leap to doing something we’ve always talked about…live with our family in an RV and hang out for a little while, moving around. We’ll stay central to where Todd’s job is, but there’s a lot of coastline out there in California with a lot of space for us to stay. So, when I leave here with the kids, I’m only taking what will fit in an RV.

As Todd was trying to gently talk me down from the ledge when I realized how much stuff that would leave behind, he suggested we NOT store it in a storage place and pay money to not use it. I resisted. I cried. I got mad, actually, and forbade him from speaking about it. (I am SOOOO reasonable…)

Interestingly, the kids and I started studying Buddha and buddhism for our human rights month in December, and a lot of things melted into my consciousness. One, that suffering comes from attachments. Not that I’m suffering at all, but it did make me think about all the things I am not doing in my life because I’m so full up with meaningless attachments to objects. What I’m not doing because I love this house. Where I’m not going because I’m rooted here with all this stuff around me. All the money we spend to keep all this stuff under one roof. It just started my wheels turning. Here we had a chance to live a small part of an RV dream, and I was seriously not going to do it because I couldn’t let go of inanimate objects.

But the kicker was a quote from Buddha that says, “This is not mine. This I am not. This is not myself.” I looked around my house, at all my things, and realized I was not any of them. And they weren’t really a part of me. It was one of those shifts in consciousness where one minute you can feel one way, and then BAM! everything changes. And all of a sudden instead of seeing stuff I felt connected to, I just saw stuff.

And so now I’m sitting around whittling down this stuff into whatever can fit into an RV, and the rest we’re selling or giving away. Furniture, knick knacks, books, games, toys, electronics…everything must go! I still have frequent panic attacks when I think about letting go of some things, but I’ve written that quote on anything in sight and it helps me prioritize what we need to live versus stuff that is cluttering up my conscious and anchoring me down.

There have been some tears, I won’t lie, but today when I looked over at the boxes full of stuff to sell, I breathed a little easier. Sometimes attachments can be heavy, and as I start letting go I’m feeling a little lighter. I kind of like it!

This is not mine.  This I am not.  This is not myself.

52 Comments

  1. oh wow.
    this is huge.
    i had no idea you were downsizing to an RV wow.
    that is a dream of mine as well.
    so kudos brave one.
    hang in there,
    just think of al that gorgeous warm coastline you will soon be cruising on with your AVIATORS in hand!!!

  2. childsplay /

    yes, my poor aviators have been so neglected in this snowy, cold climate. They're definitely made to party on the beach, lol.

    I'll hang in! This is just a growing, stretching time but once I finally get it all done it's so ON!!!

  3. How incredibly enlightening! How exciting. How totally out of comfort zone. Big things will come from this no doubt, what a fantastic way to live, by following your hearts! So very interested in following along with you.

  4. Sooo excited for you! Moving on can be bumpy, but If it gets tough and you feel like you're breaking down, think of it as breaking loose. Such an adventure is waiting for you and I can't wait to read all about it!

    Let me know if you're ever in the 'hood.

    • childsplay /

      Are you doing the unschooling conference in 2010? I was so sad to miss last year! I'm excited to visit and get our kids together at the beach while we chat! <3

      • No 2010 conference- 2009 nearly wrecked me! I have another idea up my sleeve that I think is just your cup of tea. Maybe you can plan it!

        Yes- the beach, kids and chatting! And don't forget your camera. I just got my own Precious, an XSi!! You can show me everything you know. :)

  5. I am so jealous! The RV thing has been a dream of mine for a couple of years now. What an incredible opportunity! Isn't it crazy what unschooling will do to you?

    • childsplay /

      I had no idea when I started that unschooling would fundamentally change my life like it has!

  6. oh man, are you ever inspiring! and just when i needed to read this. thank you.

    • childsplay /

      oh Dani, I can say likewise. I find your flickr and your blog so inspiring!

  7. lighter! =)

  8. Wow, Tiff! Yeah, that would be insanely hard…but I'm still a little jealous. What an amazing adventure for you and your family! Don't you just totally and utterly feel God's hand here? It's going to be good…really good! Hang in there. You can do this!

  9. michele /

    So awesome…I have been a follower of your photos for a bit
    I have always wanted to RV but hubby worries about stability for 3 kids…I say they have us
    Enjoy your awesome journey!!!!
    attachments to people and things do cause suffering

    • childsplay /

      well, I'll test it out for you, we'll see how the stability goes first :)

      • michele /

        I think what he means is kids need roots…..neighbors…..childhood friends……he grew up in the same place all his life where I moved quite a few times and I am feelin fine!!! I guess its the Hungarian gypsy in me
        I thinks exposing kids to what is out there is awesome especially for unschoolers

  10. Wow, these are big changes! Amazing and inspiring to see you and your family follow a dream.

    • childsplay /

      I hope we get a chance to meet if you come out to Cali again!

  11. What an awesome idea! Yeah, there comes a point where your possessions have to become “stuff” so that you can let go. It’s taken me almost 10 years after my mom’s death to let go of a lot of her things. This is going to be such a great experience for everybody, especially the kids.

    • childsplay /

      it is a process that takes time, isn't it. One day it's not OK, and then the next maybe it is. I just realized it's the memories that I cherish, not the stuff that reminds me of the memories.

  12. Marin /

    Lots and lots of luck on your journey of letting go and following your dreams!

    I have been going through my things lately and getting rid of so much clutter. It makes me feel lighter to let go of the physical things and the obligations and feelings surrounding them. Of course, I am not even having to think of deal with getting rid of as much as you!

    • childsplay /

      thanks, and good luck with the decluttering!

  13. Congratulations! I love "shift in consciousness" moments…they bring so much clarity and a soul freeing sense of relief.

    I envy you this adventure (in an RV no less – a dream of ours too) and wish you all the best.

  14. Jackie /

    less stuff = less money spent on stuff (and the maintenance of stuff) = more money for adventures = +.

    Vicariously excited about the RV !

    And it's looking increasingly possible that I'll see you out there sooner than later!

    <3

  15. Take pictures of the things you have some difficulty letting go. Takes much less space that way and you can still have a visual, if not tactile, reminder.

  16. Are you serious??? lol,,,You can store your stuff at my house!! We are moving as well but only 4 miles away!! I need a new leather couch!! Got one?? lol

  17. Girl,
    I know that I won't be doing anything like even remotely similar. Nope. I won't be keeping only the things that fit in an RV (whatever that is… I bet it's a motorhome of sorts, right?). I am keeping much more!
    But still, I (exactly today) started the cleanup and sorting of things in every corner of the house, before packing up, so I can give and sell, at least, lots of it.
    So, wishing you (and me!) luck on this path, I will keep up with yours to feel less alone!
    (Buddha rocks, man. I am reading Osho right now. He rocks too.)

    • childsplay /

      two girls moving to two coasts…big changes for both of us! And, today that's what I'm doing too.

  18. oh, man, that is so awesome. i am totally the same way (the pack rat part), but dream of being able to LET GO of all the stuff. and living out of an RV for a while on the coast of california sounds pretty amazing, too. good luck with it al!

    • childsplay /

      Thanks Jodi! Hey….I'm selling everything for $1 over here…you should come by and get all my stuff! LOL. From one pack rat to another!

  19. Sharon /

    Wow! I must say I am a little jealous. What freedom you will have, not to be tied to things, but to each other. Abrann and I have fantasized about doing the same thing (we even have an rv sitting in our front yard!), but neither of us have had the guts to do it, lol.
    Just think of all the field trips you will get to live….the world is literally your classroom now! Good luck in all of your journeys and most of all HAVE FUN!

    • childsplay /

      Sharon, get the RV up and running and come meet us at the beach! :)

      • Sharon /

        Don't tempt me, it's been raining here all week =o)

  20. yes! :) yes yes yes. i love purging and moving. fresh starts, new life, new adventures. i love moving just so i can dump all crap i've accumulated and start afresh. it is hard, but as you said, possessions don't matter or make us. i'm jealous – RV living and travel is a dream here too. can't wait!

    • childsplay /

      I am loving your enthusiasm! lol. I'm still on shaky ground with everything, but your attitude is definitely catchy :)

  21. Oh, honey! I feel for you!! I hold onto every little thing too, and am also fortunate to live with someone who throws everything away so we sort of balance each other out. But still, we have discussed doing the RV thing as well, and I nearly suffocated thinking of getting rid of our STUFF, our memories!!!!
    You can do it!!! We're all here for you!!! (and maybe your mom or somebody can store the stuff you really want to keep like favorite books and photo albums and your wedding dress)
    Amy

  22. Charisse /

    I remember before I had a family that everything I owned fit in the back of a Honda CRX. How's that for compact. lol. Those were the days of stress free living and freedom. As a matter of fact, that little CRX & I moved across country twice. Then came the family, the stuff, and the constraints. :{

    Good for you! Get rid of the stuff and dive head on into live creating memories not stuff.

    Freedom is weightless and priceless. Enjoy your adventure. Personally, I am alittle envious. :)

  23. kathy springer /

    when I was young and moving to california I had a box that had what I called treasures in it, one of which was a dried out rose, well my friend who was carrying this box down 3 long flights of outdoor wooden stairs slipped and fell, looked in the box and needless to say I have been reminded about that rose still 12 yrs later…Tiff, I probably still have that rose in a box somewhere. You are so very brave. I like the idea of taking pics of stuff. Thats a nice reminder. Also, you do have craigslist.org in Colorado right? Nice place to sell stuff.

  24. Sonja /

    O.K., My dear amazing Tiffani and whole amazing family, I'll admit it. We are going to miss you like crazy…and yet, I'm going to try very hard to be inspired (which I already really am!) by your infectious energy and "let go" of my "need" to have you so nearby. This sounds like a life changing wonderful adventure that will model for your beautiful children what freedom really means. I feel an ache thinking about it, but I know also, this is a good thing. We love being around you and sure am glad we have the internet to stay connected. I LOVE you blog and photos…they speak for themselves. Adventures await!

  25. Amazing! So wonderful the lessons we learn by "teaching" our children.
    Cheers to you for letting go. I too have starting the clean out in prep for a move. I keep thinking of Gandhi and how little he had… yet lead such a meaningful life.
    I love the idea of taking pictures of those hard to let go things.
    Thank for the ispiration to keep cleaning out. I wish you the best on this wonderful journey!

  26. Came over from Denise's and WOW, you have a lot going on! Nice to see some familiar faces when I come to a new blog (Hi Flo!) What a cool adventure and of course it's hard and scary, that means it is a true change. So awesome! Happy NEW Year and you can do it!

    • childsplay /

      Thank you for the encouragement! Happy New Year to you, too!

  27. Glad Sam (on twitter) mentioned your move!

    I went thru this whole thing a few months ago when we first decided to move. It was mind-blowing and difficult. I've found there are certain moods in which I can sort and pack and certain moods I can't. But I've come to the same conclusion – it's all just stuff, not me or who I am.

    And after the initial shock and adjustment, the feeling of liberation is amazing! it's what is keeping me going now, thru the chaos of boxes and mess and the missing routine. That and getting out there, the possibilities and the adventure. It's frightening and awesome all at once.

    We'll be moving around the country much more than you but hopefully our paths will cross. :)

    • childsplay /

      I'm going to be driving through Vegas at the end of the month–will you still be there?! I didn't realize you guys were heading out, too! Good to know about the liberation, I fall in the "shock" category still, so liberation will be nice! :)

  28. Wow Tiff! I feel your pain, though I was allowed to have a storage space, two in fact. When we unpacked here, several of the things we had kept seemed rather silly.

    It takes a little bit of getting used to less stuff, but really none of us NEED much. I love that you are going to live in an RV for awhile. There are some amazing camping places down there.

    Call me if you need any RV living advice.

    Congrats on your new adventure.

    xoxo

  29. imaginationinparenti /

    thank you for writing this post. I'm attached to way way way too much stuff. I'm going to write that quote everywhere… my goal for this month is to reduce the stuff by A LOT so we can BREATHE easier… I can't imagine going down to RV-only-stuff — although goodness knows that the moment you'll be in your rv-only-stuff it'll feel SO much better!!

  30. I find this adventure you are about to undertake so remarkable! I have a real love – hate relationship with stuff, and completely understand how painful the letting go can be, so focus on what it buys you – space, freedom, and making real a far-fetched dream. What better lesson is there for you pass on to your children?

    It will surely be an amazing time for your family, and there will be time for stuff again later, though you may no longer feel the need for it all. Wishing you fortitude for the packing & paring and so much fun on the adventure ahead!

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