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''I Can't See Beyond These Boxes''
It's one of the great, unanswered questions of our time. It is a quandary that has haunted the minds of men and women since time immemorial. It is a dilemma the answers for which truth seekers have embarked in their quests to understand the inner machinations of the universe. Nobel prize winners have contemplated it. Rhode Scholars have pitted wits to unravel its mystery. The eternal gratitude of humanity, as well as untold wealth and recognition awaits anyone whose ingenuity, creativity and personal connection with divine intelligence allows them to decipher what pundits, preachers and paupers have failed to see. Yes, my friends, as I prepare this month to move to a new place, I too am faced with the question:
"What the heck do I do with all these magazines?!!!î
Yes, I'm a self-proclaimed minimalist, but, I confess, this is my dirty little secret. I can't part with these darned magazines! I have issues of the now defunct Success Magazine that have followed me through two states and 5 apartments. I have Ebony magazines from the 70s--one issue featuring the entire Jackson family on the cover circa 1979 BC (Before Cosmetics). I've got practically the entire collection of The Source Magazine (The magazine of Hip Hop Culture and Politics), the now departed Reggae Report, plus numerous one-hit wonders and short-lived excursions into editorial expression! The boxes are getting more abundant and heavier too! Like comedian Robin Harris' infamous BeBe's Kids, these magazines "don't die, they multiply!"
A friend suggested that I sell some of the collections, since getting money may soothe the pain of separation. But, you know, it's not about the money. Like any collector will tell you, it's about the pride of ownership. It's that special feeling that comes from hearing the oohs and aaahs from envious strangers and friends who marvel at my collections. Even if a collection is valuable, it represents wealth I'll never realize since I don't plan to part with them for money.
Anyway, I'll spare you the entire story of my bitter battle with the boxes of magazines, but to make a long story short, I've forced myself to part with most of them (I've allowed myself ONE box of classic issues), donated others to friends (I get to part with them, with the peace of mind of knowing that I can access them if the need arises). The rest I'll donate to the guys selling tables of used books and magazines on 6th Avenue & 8th Street here in Manhattan.
But alas, as you've come to expect from me, this isn't REALLY about magazines. (Actually it is, but I've got to cover my tracks and be inspirational today, don't I?) Ahem...(in my deeper, pontificator's voice) yes, my friends, the magazines are a metaphor for something more profound. They prompt a deeper question: How can I get rid of the clutter in my life without feeling like I'm losing something valuable that I might need in the future? How can I let go of these snapshots of the past that I've used to mark the time and my life without feeling that I'm losing a part of myself? Magazines, and related clutter are representations of ideas, beliefs, and the effects of personal experiences that we take from one "mental living space"to another.
The trick is to part amicably with them, and remove the potential blockages of your new view of the world around you, and open up the path for the light of new experiences and abundance to reach you. So, today, I offer you today's life rhyme:
I Can't See Beyond These Boxes!
aka The Clutterer's Chant
aka A Paean to Packrats
aka The Hoarder's hymn
(Hmmm, perhaps I need to throw some of these titles out)
I can't see beyond these boxes!
can't see anything 'tall
And carrying this weight
my journey slows down to a crawl
Like snapshots of a life I've lived
I can't toss them aside
But now they're just a burden
in each new space I reside
But if I opened up
and looked inside what would I see?
Accumulated fears and foes
and frightened, fearful me
The payoff's the possession
how they're seen through others' eyes
And knowing I can reach them
anytime the needs arise
But the REALLY rich own nothing
And this truth I've come to know
That the REAL secure feel free*
to touch things once then let them go
Yes, when I conquer all the clutter
and move without this box I'm in
That's the day my world will change
and then my new life will begin!
*Note: Despite what people may suggest to you, my friends, security is the OPPOSITE of freedom.
I've developed my own personal philosophy for the conquest of clutter that I've applied to books, furniture and other accumulated stuff. (Yep, once again, I've entirely too much time on my hands!)
-Clothes? If you haven't touched it in 12 or more months, you probably don't need it.
-News Articles? It's available on the internet, you can probably retrieve it later. (If not, scan it, or fax it to your computer's internal fax, it and save it digitally
-Business Magazines? Info changes rapidly. More current info exists online.
-Magazines & Books? That's what libraries, used bookstores, and guys on the street are for
-Valuable Junk? Give to charity, Salvation Army, et. al, avoid the guilt of discarding.
-Memorabilia? Your future kids will probably not be interested in the minutiae of your life. They see a different world.
-Everything else? a friend probably has one you can borrow if you get nostalgic
-I think the only thing worth keeping are my comic books, photographs and records! Speaking of which--For my friends who've agreed to help me on moving day, did I mention I have 5,000 vinyl records too? -
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Walt's Life Rhyme #343
(I Can't See Beyond These Boxes)
© Walt F.J. Goodridge
Originally published: 04-23-2004
''I share what I know,
so that others may grow!''
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