Downsizing to detach, a journey that we energetically and spiritually started to seriously entertain about a year ago when we were ’empty nesters’ before we anticipated being so…..
Here is Paul’s first, of many anticipated, article(s), in which he shares the emotional, cultural, spiritual, and heart centered joys and struggles of making such a life changing decision (article first published on medium.com and thriveglobal.com):
We did it. We sold everything except for some family heirloom items, exercise equipment (bikes, golf clubs, and snorkel gear), and a few pieces of furniture saved for our children, who are young adults at this point in our journey. What we still own is in a one car garage sized storage unit, but one of our last actions of detaching will be downsizing these last few belongings so they will fit into an even smaller storage unit. Our two leased cars will be out of our possession by the end of the summer. We no longer own a home or a whole lot of anything.
Sounds exciting, right? It is!
It is also anxiety provoking. I am finding it very hard to break free from our cultural norms. You know, a comfortable place to live. A nice car. The newest gadget, bigger tv screen, or fresher clothes. Catering to our young adult children’s needs. Frequent dinners out at nice eateries.
Where this whole process takes us, who knows, but I have to give this a shot. I have to for my own soul and well being. I am blessed that Donna Maria, my wife, has jumped on board with me on this adventurous ride. I am not sure she knew what she was getting into when we met.
Here’s how we got to this point:
For the past year, Donna Maria and I have focused much of our time, resources, and creative energies on a website and related multi-media platforms called, To Live For (tolivefor.org). Our mission is to spread love, joy and positive vibes by sharing the inspiring stories and gifts of people across our sacred earth, and in doing so, believe more people will tap into their inspiring passions, thus creating wave after wave of positive vibes. We believe these waves of joy will then facilitate healing in our communities and for our earth at a time when healing is deeply needed. It is our hope that as our message expands and as we meet more inspiring people, our vision will be supported by our internet visitors and advertisers, and through the retreats and workshops we will be offering on how to create a ‘life to live for.’
As part of our To Live For mission, we felt called to minimize our material belongings and to detach from the financial strains of our western culture. Our travels, especially to Central America, have taught us that we can live an amazing life with far less material wealth, far more spiritual and health wealth, and with less money being spent on us. Don’t get me wrong, money is important, because it is the main exchange unit across cultures, but we are realizing that the money we have can be used to support our community (wherever we are at any given moment) and our earth instead of paying for 2 leased cars and the related insurance, cable/internet service, mortgage, taxes, etc. Being detached from all these expenses actually creates a lot of freedom to do what we want.
So, Donna Maria and I talked and talked and talked. We mediated, individually and collectively. We sought input from our human and unseen guides.We prayed. We then made some deeply heart felt decisions. I had already sold my house soon after Donna Maria and I got married. Donna Maria made the decision to sell her house, as well. This was an extremely difficult decision for Donna Maria because this is where she raised her two sons and the land was nestled in the beautiful woods of coastal Maine. Donna Maria also made the decision to sell her physical therapy business after having founded it 28 years ago. Again, this was an intensely personal and gut-wrenching decision. Many tears were shed during this year long process, and wouldn’t you know it, the closing transactions of both her house and business occurred in the same week, days before this past Christmas. In addition we had to move in this same week! Yowza, what a Christmas season to remember!
We quickly moved to reduce our belongings so that they would fit into a single car garage sized storage unit, and then we were blessed to find a furnished rental home through this May. This is our jumping off point now. We have no idea what is happening after May 31st.
Where will be living? How will we be serving our community and our earth? How will we make a go of this new lifestyle without working the traditional 9–5 jobs? What about our remaining pets? (We are down to 2 dogs and 1 cat after re-homing 1 dog and 4 cats). Finally, how do we best support our young adult children while trying serve humanity in the way we feel called to? How can “To Live For” support our community (wherever that may be), our earth, and us?
Great questions. We are still seeking the answers……..on a daily basis, through talking, meditating, journeying, and prayer.
One emerging aspect of this life changing decision is that we have been guided to write about our journey as it unfolds. You are reading my first article about our quest to create a life to live that is vastly different than any way we have previously lived. We hope our story inspires you in some fashion. We hope we can assist you in connecting with your passions and gifts, if you have not already done so. We hope you decide to create a life to live for or that you share how you have already created a life to live for. The more of us moving forward with joy and a love for life WILL make a difference for our communities and our earth during these turbulent times.
I am not suggesting that you need to sell all your belongings to create a life to live for, by the way. Each of us have different passions, different means, & different ideas. We are each unique. The exciting news is that you can do what you want, if you put that intention out there. Intentions are powerful. We’ll get more into this, I am sure, as our blog and writing unfolds.
In my next article, I share some facts about money, and how money has played a role in this life changing decision to downsize and detach.
Please feel free to follow us on this crazy, exhilarating, and sacred journey at www.tolivefor.org.