India

Letting go…….

Learning to live with less materially but gaining so much more in other ways.

Some people reading this will remember conversations with me as I shared discussions that David and I were having about what or how much we were going to pack and bring with us.

We were planning to stay a month for our first stop in Rishikesh. Since we were going to “settle” some then I wanted to bring spices, plenty of clothes, lots of dental floss, and numerous other items. It wasn’t so much that I really wanted to have all those items but it was because we already had them.  This is at least what I told myself at the time.  We were going to have to give them away, throw them away, pack them for at least a year until we returned, or bring them with us. These were our options.  My reasoning was if we knew we would use it (like spices and dental floss) then why toss it and rebuy once we got here. I didn’t want to be wasteful.

Initial planning – not all made final packing.

After some negotiation with David, and with only so much space to pack, some of those items made it some didn’t. David was adamant….we were not bringing spices to the country know for its spices. I let them go…except I did bring a little saffron…it’s so expensive and takes up very little space…I could fit that without David knowing. ; ) It was easier to let all the spices go because once I started going through our cupboards I realized many of our spices were already past the expiration date. The rest I gave to my mom, friends, and sister in law….thanks guys for making me feel better and taking them! And then the bathroom items, like the dental floss. Not sure about others but we sure had some of that piled up. We each get some every time we go to the dentist and apparently we don’t use it at the same rate. Well, those are pretty small and I envisioned us having plenty of time to floss daily maybe two or three times a day, so I brought lots of those. We still had more…..so again thanks Megan for making me feel better and accepting my little gifts.

Although we had our backpacks we also had duffle bags that we were using to put our packs in during the plane flight sections of our travel. So, our initial packing from home to India allowed a little extra space around the packs in the duffle bags to fit more then we realized.

Those duffle bags were full when we left the USA!

Well, fast forward a few months and numerous moves…Northern India to Southeastern India, Southeastern India to Sri Lanka, numerous places in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka back to Southwestern India, and we continue…..So, little by little, things go. Sometimes it’s a big letting go and sometimes it’s little, just a few things.  We have used up items that we don’t need to replace.  When you have to carry everything you really start to examine why you have what you have, do you really need it, and maybe could you let it go.

We gave away just a couple things when leaving Rishikesh but I think we acquired more there so actually had more than when we left home. After that, each time we packed and had to handle and examine every item we were carrying, we started letting go and giving away. Sometimes we have to make deals with ourselves…..if I give this away then I can keep this. Sometimes feeling a little anxiety…what if we need this again?? But mostly it feels good. We mailed a 12 lb package back to USA with some items we just couldn’t let go. Not sure if that package will ever make it home but we felt better thinking it will be there once we return.

Recent train trip – lighter bags but still more to go!

It’s nice to lighten the load. We actually started to have a lot of fun with this. Now, I must admit….we have been to a couple malls….we happen to be near India’s largest mall so thought why not check it out? Air-conditioning, some good coffee, and it’s interesting to check out the mall culture here. Well, I ended up buying some makeup on one of those mall trips. Ha! Not sure exactly how that happened but it did and they are small items so keeping that for a bit! There have been many times I have wanted to buy something but then when I realize I would have to carry it I reconsider and decide that I don’t really need or want it.

We are living with less in some ways and living with so much more in other ways.   We have less material items but more experiences, humbling memories, and more space for reflection.  We are working toward having a lighter load and this becomes our metaphor.

Letting go and lightening the load has given us the valuable experience of having only what you need and needing only what you have.