Moving onto a boat required some serious head to heart conversations about what to do with all of my stuff – years and years of accumulation. It had to be dealt with before moving aboard. As Capt. Chameleon likes to say (over, and over, and over), “the closet on a boat is an expensive piece of real estate.”
So, here I am – seven months aboard Seamore Odyssey and I’d say the cargo hold is actually quite light. But until the drawers are no longer packed like sardines, the ‘head to heart’ focus group will continue to meet and work out their differences. Fortunately those meetings are becoming more productive, which I attribute to the Rules of Engagement between mind, body, and spirit: no name calling (“pack rat”); no pushing the other over board (drowned rat), and no secret hoarding (rat trap). Collectively, we have grown in the ‘art of letting go’. But still quite a stretch from mastering it.
Give away the immaculate Cole Haan boots I snagged from My Sister’s Closet consignment store? Fine. Pass along my prized estate sale treasure – a vintage pink London Fog trench coat? Of course. Reduce my raggedy ole 7Mile Bridge race T-shirt collection by half? Not if you value your knee caps.
What is it about those half dozen, falling apart T-shirts? Or the glass oil lamp the size of an orange that I haven’t been able to get the wick to burn for years; but it’s from my friend who died four and half years ago? And the platter, square bowl, and vase, so old they surely contain lead, but they belonged to my grandmothers?
Last winter, after our home sold it was time to deal with the contents. The profound relinquishing took me to the land of the loss; a heavy feeling that I was perhaps abandoning a memory, someone’s affection, or the relationship connected to a picture, table, sweater, book, and book ends, wind chimes, saved greeting cards…you get the idea, just by looking around at your own things.
I needed to get rid of most of my valued possessions, but how could I feel at ease with it? The emotional grip of holding on felt icky and powerless. It took an emergency board meeting, summoned by the head to heart negotiators to pull me from the clutches of declutter despair. Their strategy was brilliant. They threatened me with mildew.
I couldn’t shake a vision of my things after I’m dead and gone, rotting away in some forsaken, mildew spotted, smelly antique store. Possessions stranded on a shelf with stories and memories muted forever. It’s ironic how we can’t take material things with us when we die, but when we are alive, material things can tether us to a place indefinitely.
With the fear of mildew, I set out on a journey to spread the love I had for my things, by matching them with new adoring owners. In giving stuff away, stories flowed, memories resurfaced, and a sense of purpose immerged…encouraging a presence of mind to enjoy those material things, and when it is time, don’t hesitate in passing them on for someone else to have.
I laughed and cried with more family and friends in those two weeks of repurposing furniture, dishes, artwork, and clothes then I had in 16 years. In downsizing, I found my peace. Mildew free.
Good night, from Home Sweet Home, where the Captain has agreed to rent half of his T-Shirt drawer to me.
Seamore Nautical Spirits
P. S. This week we are preparing to travel upriver to Chattanooga. We anticipate it taking us 3 days to reach Chattanooga, sight see thru the week then back to Ditto Landing. It will be our shakedown cruise, to get us nimble and limber with all of the bells and whistles of cruising.
Possessions I brought along. Old. Fun. Functional items.
Morning run along Aldridge Greenway Trail:
Songs about possessions and directions…