Question: Dear Luise: I have a hard time trying to understand a friend of mine. She never gets attached to material objects. I just don’t understand it. She has a beautiful recreation trailer in a camping club. We spend an overnight there a couple of times a month…kind of a retreat. It’s just darling. She’s decorated it like a little “grandma’s cottage” with glider rockers, a cuckoo clock, curtains with crewel embroidery, etc. It’s just precious. Well, this weekend she said casually that she might sell it, as is, and move to a sight closer to her son. She drives to his lot, so what’s the difference? I was just stunned. She loves the place and feels it’s sacred, just like I do, but she can just let it go on a whim. I asked her if she ever gets attached to anything and she said yes, that she wouldn’t want to move out of her condo because she loves the trees around it. Her condo is as cute as her trailer. How can trees matter when things don’t? Any insights? Mona
Answer: Dear Mona: What an interesting friend. I would guess that what most of us do is connect things and stuff with incidents and feelings. We then value the things that remind us of the warm fuzzies we feel. If we project value onto the object, it then becomes more than a thing. Right? But trees are already alive.
Look at an incident and the attendant feelings in a hypothetical situation like “ the day you and I were at the fair and you won the teddy bear for me”. Most of us would then prize the teddy bear. However, if the memory was felt wholly within the heart and not seen as within the bear, then the bear wouldn’t be what we were attached to. The memory would be what mattered most. We could keep the bear or give it away.
Let’s also look at the savers and tossers. I’m not sure one is any more sentimental than the other, but there is a great difference in how they feel and express their sentimentality.
Good for you for noticing this basic difference between you and your friend. It’s a sign of maturation, I think, when we begin to see that we are all inclined to develope, hold and cherish varried perceptions. There usually isn’t a right or a wrong, or even a normal or a weird. There may a prevalent or a rare, but how can we judge what, if anything, that means.
The process of becoming wise is to not judge at all. Notice and investigate. Talk with your friend about this and compare notes. Get where she’s coming from and share your point of view. This will broaden your horizons and hers. Blessings, Luise