Will I Be Without Ruth?


Who is Ruth?

She’s cold and heartless. Truly, she does not care about anyone except herself and what serves her. In fact, as I write this, it occurs to me that I would be better off without her. Why was she the first one I thought about when contemplating the massive KonMari purge of my belongings to prepare for an international move to Panama?

Oh, right, that’s big news right there!

I’m moving to Panama!

I’ll have a separate blog to share how I came to that monumental decision, but here I’m addressing the colossal task for a sentimentalist-in-recovery of being ruthless with my stuff, deciding what will come with me via carton shipping and in suitcases traversing the 4,100 miles to Playa Coronado, Panama.

Ruthless. That was my first thought when I thought about purging my stuff. Only now do I see how unkind that is and very anti-Kondo-esque. Marie Kondo’s philosophy is to select items that spark joy and thank the other items for their place in your life and release them.

This is exactly the approach I take regarding the emotional healing in working with clients; not to judge harshly, but to observe emotions, ask them what they need for resolution and decide if they are serving your growth.

There is no reason to be harsh on oneself in any aspect of life. What a revelation!

I have a whole new mindset in my approach for delving into sorting through not only my things and remnants of a former married life, teenage life and childhood, but also the belongings of parents, grandparents, cousin’s and friends no longer living.

I have said for quite some time that I want to live a light life; physically, not only in my body weight but also the material items I have surrounded myself with. Emotionally and spiritually I strive for a lightness of being. And I know one way to achieve that is to create space.

But upon my return home to California I will open closets crammed with boxes and bins of stuff, cabinet shelves full of glassware and tea mugs and a shed full of at least eight heavy boxes of photographs. One of the gifts in this digital age is that if I’m able to part with the physical albums and photographs, I can take pictures of the pictures. I can’t predict how successful I’ll be with this approach, but I’m setting my intention to hold my vision of a light life and trust the process of finding the joy, not being cold-hearted.

Being on the road for the past eight months in the RV has shown me that I don’t need much. As hard as it was to select only a few pots or pans, glassware, shoes and clothing - I overpacked - haven’t even used half of what I brought.

And if I haven’t felt devastated not being around sentimental boxed up items for eight months, isn’t it safe to assume I’ll be okay without them going forward? The hard part will be physically engaging with them again, reviewing their tangible and emotionally evocative nature.

I’ve always been in awe of those who can purge easily, almost gleefully, as if they know the secret of the euphoria from detachment. I want that. I might already be having a bit of it, seeing how physical and tangible things are so very temporary and unimportant at the time of our death.

A light life with a view of the mountains. I feel the quell of excitement of not having an address for a few months after I sell my house and before I sell dear Goldie. Is it possible for me to downsize so drastically that I can pack boxes to ship to Panama and fit them in the RV?

I’m taking no furniture. Not the flowered needlepoint chairs that were my grandmothers, not the wicker chests I’ve had since I was twelve, not the dining table my ex husband and I purchased as our first piece of furniture when we bought our home. I do not need those things to feel content.

Inner peace, contentment and joy are all created from the inside.

I’ve learned that wherever I go is home. From Interstate truck stops to family and friend’s homes, Airbnb’s and Walmart parking lots; I’m home with myself.

I’ll not invite ruthless to my downsizing endeavor. Rather, I’ll invite the spirit of KonMari and select only the things that spark joy.


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