I had a big experience with resilience the other day when my computer completely collapsed. Which is why we have a 2 day gap in postings.

It was odd that the mix of feelings it generated didn’t make immediate sense. There was a sense of loss. But then I realised important things had copies. My books are copied into and most friends and acquaintances were somewhere in Facebook or Linked-In or Skype, and the rest in a physical diary.

There was an odd sense of relief, but what was that about? As I tossed and turned through the night, I started working over how my brain was truly rebooting, getting used to a new life without all kinds of things that it had in the attic and which had now been sent to the dump. I probably had 5 versions of Mindmapping programmes, 4 ways of producing videos, hundreds of course and workshop modules that I would refer to when doing something new.

Now my brain could work from fresh, and it was a great sense of freedom.

When working on Swap Shop days (Transition Chichester has had 2 successful events so far) I have had the sense from some people how exhilarating it is to get rid of stuff. Now I know this is difficult, but I have a way of doing it which you might like to try. Instead of going through room by room and slowly and painfully deciding what you could or could not throw out/give away/reuse in a new way, you opt for a time limited hunting game. You allocate 5 minutes of your time and rush round the house trying to find as many items as you can that you don’t want, placing them in the middle of a large room, or maybe your garden. As you look at the large pile of things that are now going to go, you decide you can celebrate, most of the work has been done. So a small celebration takes place and then you do a bit of work deciding what to do with each item. Maybe it goes for free to a charity, or a swap shop, or maybe it goes in your Xmas present box for someone? That’s OK, just because you don’t want it doesn’t mean it is not nice. Other items might be reusable, as garden tools, as packaging (like old clothes/books) – be creative. Some things you might decide to sell at a car boot sale, but if you decide this then you HAVE TO pick a date when you will do this or it will go back in the cupboard and you have achieved nothing.

Having had one success, then the next week you repeat the fun you had, and keep repeating it once a week until the pile (don’t forget to keep to the 5 minute rule) is very small. Then you can stop. For a year.

So what has this to do with resilience? Well, if you are overloaded with STUFF, then you are more vulnerable to pressures of change. You have less room for manoeuvre. This even applies when travelling. I travel almost always with hand luggage only. So when I arrive I can catch a bus, or walk, and I can leave open where I am staying because I can move around easily. This is the backpacking mentality. If we have the same backpacking mentality to life itself then we have more freedom.

The last thing about letting go of STUFF (and you can interpret that in any way you like) is you can find out and enjoy the advantages that come your way when you do so.

The final funny advantage I found on getting my new, little, very portable notebook, is that while switched on I am saving 90 Watts per hour, so with 3 years constant use it has paid for itself, and saved the planet a bit of CO2?


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