I love Maurice and I love this quote, and it can be interpreted in so many ways. If we dissect it through the lens of the material, just for today, I have some thoughts. Many years ago Arran and I started questioning if we owned our stuff, or if it owned us. We moved house a lot, so there were lots of opportunities to resent the number of things we owned when packing. And lots to delight in when we started rearranging it in the new home.
And as an experiment to really find our truth in this question, we gave away and sold almost 90% of what we owned, and moved into a fully furnished tiny cottage set on a nature reserve. This was my bright ‘fun’ idea, not Arran’s, but he came along for the ride as he always does. Marley LOVED the idea, she’s not into having that much stuff anyway.
We moved from a huge designer fully furnished house with 4 bedrooms to what was effectively an apartment on a huge block, with broken wiring and a freezing winter with doors and windows that didn’t quite close, and everything belonging to someone else. It was challenging, beautiful, sad at times, utterly elevating and also freeing. We had an owl that lived on a tree right outside our window that would hoot through the night. The sun would rise through the trees in our front yard filled with cockatoos and kookaburras and lorikeets and set amongst the gum trees in our backyard overlooking the ocean. We built fires. We cooked more simply (I had little kitchen equipment left) and everything became more humble. I stopped caring so much about stuff that wasn’t important, and then it was a free flow into every area of life.
I came back to myself, my roots, and literally as it was the very nature reserve I used to explore as a kid. I spent time sitting, overlooking the cliff and water, reading, crunching through twigs and avoiding snakes on walks. And that year in the pink house in Palm Beach completely changed who we were as a family. No stone was unturned when it came to looking into how we wanted to now live.
We only lived in that house for 11 months, then due to circumstances, we had to move. We moved into the home we are in now that we adore. And without any furniture, we started again. It’s been slow. Most of it is custom made or second hand. It’s nothing special yet is so utterly special. And recently Marley and I decided we needed a new lounge. We went lounge shopping, we looked around and compared prices. We showed Arran, who again, patiently listened to us and looked at everything. Then one morning Arran and I stood in the garden, near the fire pit that has the two huge staghorns overlooking it. And the birds were singing, and dropping seedlings all over the lawn. And the sun was glinting through the leaves. And we were silent, just breathing it all in, and I looked at him and we both knew simultaneously at that moment that the new lounge was unimportant. Sure, we agreed, it would be nice. But what kind of sacrifices, what kind of hours, what kind of energy would have to be input to acquire it?
We might get a new lounge later on, but right now, having the time to have fires in our garden, having less time commuting and more time playing soccer with our daughter, and less time on the computer and more walking the dogs to see dolphins play as the sunrises takes priority.
Sometimes we just need to press pause and take check, before we barrel back down our old patterns and ways of doing things…
Sent with love,
Did you see the little video of Maurice Sendak’s I included in the Weekend Edition? In case you missed it you can view it HERE.