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Devotion Worthy?

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I love words. I think it all started with the vocabulary lists we got each week in school, probably beginning back in third grade. Also, I was a voracious reader as soon as I conquered the puzzle of all those letters put together in different ways. When I studied both latin and greek in high school, I was fascinated with the origins of words and how it helped to understand what words meant.

Last week I started thinking about the word devotion. Here's the definition:

"love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause" and "religious worship or observance"

The reason I was contemplating this was because I am all for being enthusiastic and loyal, especially toward my friends and certain principles. However, I started to wonder if I was bordering on the edge of unhealthy "clinging" or even "worship" in certain areas of my life.

This probably was triggered by my current situation ... I haven't had a real home base for the past three to four years. I let go of most of my furniture and left some books and a few lamps, some dishes and glassware, and some other "things" at my parents' or son's while I gypsied my way around the world. Last year, after my mother died, my 88-year old father decided to let go of his home of 50 years and moved to Florida. He is happily enjoying snow-free winters and senior, independent living on the east coast and I am thrilled for him. However, it meant I had to get those "few things" out of his basement. I had no idea that meant about ten boxes of "stuff". I got a storage unit (even though I am, in principle, against them -- see my blogette on "clutter" ) and decided to go through the cartons "later".

This summer, my son found out he has to move in a couple of months and he needed me to get my "other stuff" that he has been keeping for me. Oy, vey -- more boxes for self-storage. This is where my thoughts about devotion started to come into play. I realized that I was almost worshipping some of the things that I simply needed to get rid of. At first, I agonized about the beautiful dishes or statues of Buddha and couldn't imagine how I would part with them. I remembered when I had a really sweet home north of Boston (that I left 10 years ago) and how they decorated my living space and how much I "loved" them.

There's a saying that we teach what we need to learn. I have known that to be true many times and this was yet another reminder. When I facilitate a mindfulness course, I am always trying to help people live in the moment. I talk a lot about staying in the NOW and here I was going back to the past. I got lost in thinking about the "house I used to have" instead of looking at what my present holds for me. I was kind of looking at my boxes of mementos as if they were "holy" and, while some of them are truly gorgeous, they don't fit into my life anymore, at least for now.

I still have a small storage unit because during this process I realized I was becoming devoted to something else, something new. I want a nest. I want a home base and I want it in Boston. It doesn't mean I'll stay there year round. I still have too much wanderlust for that and I don't love Boston in the most wintery months, but this is where I want to take a few of the items that really touch my heart and soul and lovingly unpack them.

I encourage you to look at where your devotions lie ... friends, family, and certain beliefs and guidelines? Sounds good to me. Odds and ends that are simply taking up space and creating clutter? Maybe it's time to move some of them along. For me, I've found that it's good to link my devotion to that which connects to my soul and it's even better to let go of my devotion to objects and matters that don't serve me. It helps me to feel more centered and have peace of mind and this is what I wish for you.

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About the Author




Barbara L Cummings, MS, RN

is a sassy Queen-ager whose mission is to co-create a happier, healthier life with and for others.

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