10 Jul Happiness is clearing away the dead wood in your life
Over the last few weeks I’ve written and published two tips on my other site (making changes) that have received an incredibly wonderful and positive response. As such, I thought I’d share a slightly modified version with you in this Blog.
A couple of weeks ago, I was distressed to see a beautiful tree chopped down in my street. After attending a meeting organised by our local council for concerned members of the neighbourhood I fully understand why the tree had to be removed (to cut a long story short, it was causing considerable damage to the drain system of a number of houses on the other side of the street). But knowing the reasons behind the decision did not necessarily reduce the sadness almost all of us felt seeing this beautiful and aged oak cut down branch by branch.
At the same time, however, and not in any way losing sight of our loss, after only a few days it became quite apparent that there were (much to our surprise) several real advantages associated with the new situation. For one, we now receive significantly more natural light into the front rooms of our home something that I must say is not at all unwelcome!
But this tip is not about the pros and cons of keeping or culling trees in suburban Sydney. Rather, its about a related issue about which I became aware as I was pondering the meaning of this event more generally.
As I thought, I began to realise that we often become very attached to “things” in our lives when in reality they’re not, and maybe for some time have not been very good for us. We keep so many possessions we never or rarely use. These might not be causing any direct damage but they might, although we don’t always realise it, be indirectly distracting us from what’s important (and as such may well be doing damage without us being aware of it).
From this conclusion, I encouraged readers of my weekly tips to consider all the “things” in their life; forget about how much you like or love something and ask yourself whether or not it is serving any use or real purpose in your life? Ask yourself whether, without this “thing” you’d be any worse off? Or is it even possible you might be better off? Less restricted? More free?
I’m not suggeting all things are bad or that to be happy we should denounce all possessions; but what I am suggesting is that much could be gained from occasionally clearing out some dead wood from your life (as long as no living thing is harmed in the process!). I then invited readers to “Give it some consideration and let me know your thoughts…”
Well, they did exactly that! We had an amazing response and as well as many thoroughly appreciating the tip and giving serious consideration to applying it in their lives many also sent in additional interpretations of this metaphor. For example, some suggested the tree story might mean:
– to look for positives in what appear to be negatives
– to look for light where there appears to be only shade
– to consider getting rid of “psychological and emotional” clutter as well as physical clutter (such as unhelpful memories and grievances etc.).
The paths to happiness are many and it may well be that one is via the byway of simplification!