J had a pretty minimal everyday wardrobe, but had a lot of clothing related to an athletic hobby. J spent a lot of time doing said hobby. J not only spent long hours doing the hobby, but spent much time on related social media, watching others do it competitively, reading about it + talking about it too.
Related to the stuff, J would say things like:
- "Someone gave me this, so I didn't have to spend money on it."
- "If I keep all of these things, I won't have to purchase anything new for a long time."
- "I don't have that many things."
When asked, "How many of this one item do you think you own?" "Oh, maybe 5," J answered.
One day J agreed to grab all of their hobby related clothing from all of the various locations it was stashed around their home + to place it all in one spot. It made an enormous pile. Next J agreed to sort that pile into like items. This seemed to be when the volume of the items started to dawn on J. That one item they were asked about above? The actual count was 23. Twenty-three of one item that was only worn one season of the year...for a "hobby".
At this point, we can step back + tenderly ask a different sort of question. "Hey J, what are your priorities?" Now we are not talking strictly about stuff...but about what J values most in life. Is there a reason J has curated their everyday wardrobe, but has not been able to bear letting go of any of the things related to their hobby?
These can be a tough but telling questions to answer. On one hand, J wants to say that their partner + children are the top priority...that making sure these precious souls feel loved + cared for is the priority. Maybe they want to say that friends + community + generosity + service + doing good work are priorities...or maybe they have not thought about this question in a really long time + don't really know how to answer it.
Is it possible that stuff is betraying true priorities? Does where J spends most of his non-working hours point to the same thing? In this case, stuff + time priorities agree. Maybe looking like a successful athlete or having a sparkly social media tracking profile is J's actual priority.
J can now decide if their intended + evident priorities agree...or if one is squeezing out the other...or if some realignment is in order. Intention can now inform action! Exciting!
Is there a clear picture of our priorities in our own stuff? It's strange how we can sort of become blind to our own stuff. I washed out a pot the other day + set it on the rug to dry. It's still sitting there a week later. I've just stopped seeing it as I step over it each day.
What can we start to see anew?
P.S. J was able to identify a number of each hobby item in appropriate alignment with their newly formed priorities. They were then able to select that number of each item + let the rest go (by offering it to others with the same hobby). J started to recognize that most of the others doing the same hobby only had one or two of each item + found it to be enough. J was able to adjust how much time was spent on the hobby too...and is currently living into a new set of priorities...consciously. :)