• Barb Swartz-Biscaro

The Purge

"A cluttered home is a cluttered mind". "Getting rid of "stuff" frees you". "Just throw it out, you don't need it anymore".

These are statements I have been hearing all my life and since early adulthood have thought I really should listen but couldn't bear to do it. My husband, on the other hand, can throw anything out, clutter irritates him.

Somehow the last week my mind has changed and I have decided that I can throw "things" away. I started in my "cubby" - the storage space in my office. Little did I realize it would be the most physically, and emotionally difficult place to start. It was also the most empowering and freeing experience. The cubby is FULL of boxes of photos, keepsakes, documents, stuffed animals - just stuff I have wanted to keep. I emptied the cubby and was surrounded by boxes full of memories while I sat on my office floor. I had no idea where to start so I just grabbed a box and dug in. What I found was that it was so easy to throw away old documents that no longer serve a purpose. We laughed as we looked at photos and put them into the "keep" pile. I say we, but I had saved so much unnecessary stuff that through this process (and 6 hours) we were able to put the "keep" boxes back into the cubby and it is now only 1/4 occupied. I threw a lot away. But why had I kept it all?

I had books that documented every aspect of my entire life from my law suit. It was literally thousands of pages about me, the good, the bad and the ugly. I looked at them and said "how can I throw myself away?" and then reflected on what was in those pages. Those pages are not who I am, they are my history and its all in my history box stored in my head. I don't need the physical box anymore. So I asked my husband to go light the fire in the back yard with it and I stood in my office window and watched it burn. Emotional, symbolic, powerful.

I then found myself reflecting on how I got to this place, where I am willing to even consider throwing things away when I have always been so adamant about hanging on. (I also had a box full of my brothers medical records" just in case we need them" - he passed away 10 years ago) I was hanging on because I didn't know my identity without it all.

Over the last year - since losing my dad and knowing how painful that is, I don't want my kids to have to experience that until a more natural age for me - I have been really trying to find ways to live healthier, more mindfully and in the present. I found meditation, I found Reiki healing, I have transitioned from pharmaceutical approaches to health and started caring for my health more holistically with natural approaches. I knew this would make me feel better, I hoped it would help me live longer - I had no idea the true impact it would have.

I am able to throw "things" away because I have cleansed my mind, I have cleansed myself internally. I have found who I am now, in the present and I love her every day. I don't need to hold onto material things that once gave me an identity. Of course I hang on to the good memories but I no longer need 3 boxes full of greeting cards from family and friends over the years to feel loved. I am loved today by all that I choose to have in my life. I have also started cleansing the external me. I began seeing the potential risks of putting anything toxic or chemical in or on my body. Cancer is too prevalent in my life to take these risks. So I now purchase products that reduce this risk and make me feel free from those dangers.

I am cleansing. I am living today. I share my light, love and joy with others and I no longer have a need to question my worth - or a need to connect my worth to physical items. So yes, those statements are true, purging mind, body, soul and cubby is freeing.



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