Dusty Things

Take a look on your shelf, in your closet, garage and every other room. You may notice that you have acquired a great deal of “stuff” over the years. Now ask yourself, how often do you use all of your “stuff?” Most will find that its not too often that we take an item off of the shelf or out of a box. It stays put, covered in dust most of the time dwelling within the sphere of acquisition.

Though many things that we keep are indeed useful, and have their time for use which may or may not be all that often; most are simply objects taking up space. This space could be used much more wisely, much like the infinite space within the heart.

If you’ve ever ridden on the schoolbus as a child, you know the name of this game. Too many kids cramped on vinyl seats with seatbelts that don’t work or are missing. Kids hop around, joke, torment and belittle other kids and torture the bus driver at times. Many things happen on the ride to and from school.

I remember riding the bus. We all had our own particular seats that we favored. In front of me sat a lone child, socially awkward is the best that I could describe him. Though he tried his best to fit in, it just never worked. He laughed at all the wrong jokes, he said all the wrong things and talked to all the wrong people. He was belittled and tormented on the bus and often chased from the bus by gangs of other kids.

After a while this child sat alone behind the bus driver; arms crossed over his backpack which sat in his lap. His head faced the window, eyes focused on the glass in a glazed blank stare that would burn steel. Despite his efforts to remain invisible, he was still tormented and bullied daily. I remember his face like it were yesterday.

While we travel through life in the modeled world of producer and consumer, we fail to cultivate compassion for all beings. We all work more so we can spend more so we can acquire more “stuff.” We live among mountains of horde, none of which contain compassion.

If we spend our life working more only to have more things, what truly have we gained here? This is not the essence of life, this is a human construction of shame. We should all take a seat on this bus, and feel the torment of our actions.

In the sphere of acquisition, we should strive to cultivate compassion for all life; to place a hand on another shoulder and touch the soul. Perhaps when we acquire a shelf or closet full of compassion and love, then the items on the shelf will be used often; never covered in dust.

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I am an artist, writer, author, philosopher and lover of nature and life. My blog offers a glimpse into my world, my thoughts, my sphere. Enjoy!

87 thoughts on “Dusty Things

  1. It is a sad thing being on the merry-go-round chasing more money to buy more material possessions [repeat].

  2. This is great! It hit close to me today as I am currently packing my life up to move back in with my parents for a brief time. I have “hoarder” tendencies, not to an extreme amount but a lot of my material possessions are with me because of the memories associated with them. I have more pictures than deemed necessary, but to me they have captured a moment in time that I can always remember. Not to say I’m living in the past but there were moments I can never try to recreate with loved ones who have since passed or are no longer part of my life.
    Trying to pack things up is a big undertaking & reading this post gave me a good feeling to be able to part with some of the things I have around my place that aren’t associated with memories.
    Thanks for the great read!

    1. Thank you! It is my pleasure. We all hang onto things for sentimental reasons, but we should learnt o let a lot of it go. Making space is a clean feeling, and the beginning of new beginnings. πŸ˜‰

      1. I had to reply to this comment right now because as I have been packing & sorting through my entire life, I have kept this post in mind. If it’s worth second guessing in my mind, its either trash or goes to Salvation Army. I am proud to say I have since thrown out 5 bags of junk, I won’t say garbage because that just makes me feel like a complete hoarder. I also have successfully packed 2 bags to give away. Thanks for the post! It’s still inspiring me to “de-clutter” my life! πŸ™‚

      1. No worries. I’m working on my past issues and try to help all the kids that stared out the window, wishing they were home.

        Plus, I drive a car now. It rarely gets dusty;)

  3. I really enjoyed this post. How true it is that we humans spend too much time counting pennies and not at all as much time counting blessings and loving all life forms.
    Thank you.

  4. Thank you. Excellent reminder of what is truly important in life. Beautiful. πŸ™‚ I hope that little boy grew up to see all the beauty that is him.

    Have a lovely weekend,

  5. u write b’ful. i could have been one of those tormented kids for sometime πŸ™‚ but i found better people to pull me through it πŸ™‚

    BTW, i don’t know why but the back ground of the page had bee really very distracting and had my eyes wandering all over looking for lines as i was getting lost in the minute things in the picture behind. almost got a headache. My fault. had a tiring day may be!

    good work here. read a few other posts too.

  6. This reminded me of the children who shine on their day at Special Olympics. Most get taken off the shelf and dusted that day, then quietly disappear back into their respective bus seats, clutching their backpacks. May the world take your advice and acquire compassion and love to be discovered and used every day, like becoming a “buddy” to a special child or adult, especially those who may have no family. Thanks for this post.

  7. Right on! I feel exactly the same way about materialism. I do my best everyday to remind my friends and family that material things are impermanent. All things are impermanent. I dig your writing style. πŸ™‚

  8. Odd that we tend to horde things instead of relationships. What do we fear?

    Never rode the bus to school but I know the people you talk about – on both sides of the equation. Peer pressure sucks. Schools should focus on eradicating it instead of all the time spent on bullies. Remove the former and the latter will implode.

  9. I have been working really hard to rid myself of all those dusty things I have collected and do not use. I have tossed them, donated them, and repurposed them. It is amazing the things I collect. I feel a sense of freedom to remove them from my space. πŸ™‚

  10. Beautifully written.

    I try to think often of “wants” and “needs” if my life before even poising myself to buy something new. If it doesn’t fill a few needs at a time, I try to see if there’s a consolidated instrument to fill whatever needs exist. For instance, I got a toaster oven rather than getting a separate toaster and microwave for heating things up.

    It takes some thought and discipline, but I’m trying to get better at it daily…

    1. Thank you.. I try and do the same. I hardly ever buy new things, they seem to last forever with me. If I do its because something broke. But I’m a sucker for mementos and sentimental things..

  11. I have just returned from a trip to Venice with my daughter-in-law … after selling ‘my stuff’ on ebay to pay for the trip.
    There are no ‘things’ that can compensate for the opportunity to share and strengthen our relationship with those we love.
    Thank you!

  12. say hi or acknowledge people as you walk past them on the street. some people give a funny look… as if you’ve intruded on their day… but then there are those that spread such an enormous grin afterwards, as if to say, “me? you’re smiling at… me?” that’s a good feeling… on both sides.

  13. Like those shelves and “stuff,” there’s a lot of dust in our hearts as well. Sometimes, living day-to-day we forget about the most important part of ourselves…Our heart. Love this blog…very insightful πŸ™‚

  14. You touched a nerve today. I remember too well staring into that glass. Hoping to see some kind of light, but only hating the pitiful face that stared back at me instead.

  15. Jeremiah, you’ve really hit on something here. I suspect that many accumulate out of a need to be remembered. I mean, if I die and leave all of this stuff, then I must have been of some importance (look at my wake). And rather than understanding the way in which we can live beyond our life (love), we buy a bigger house and turn our garage into a storage bin……… As always, an excellent source of wisdom. Thank you. ~ Love, Bobbie

  16. I’m not materialistic but I admit to buying things impulsively. I guess sometimes we keep things that are not important. I don’t like clutter in my space, so I let go of things I must let go and keep those that are very special. Things that I’m fond of are things that are reminiscent of my past. Call me sentimental. πŸ™‚

  17. This was really a delight to read. The things I seem to do with money are kind of silly. I never take my savings seriously, unless I’m going to buy a new car or get something actually important.

    However, I’ve come to realize most of the money I’ve come to spend recently has been to buy things that cultivate my craft, that of writing. In a sense, I think it’s been allowing me to live a life free from a lot of worries and a lot of emotional clutter. I really couldn’t tell you what gave me that education and perspective, but I’m glad I keep it. Thank you for reminding me of it.

  18. As a professional organizer, I commend you for your insight into “emotional” vs “physical” stuff (aka clutter). The two go hand in hand and affect each other tremendously. It’s actually a vicious cycle. You are so right in saying “Perhaps when we acquire a shelf or closet full of compassion and love, then the items on the shelf will be used often; never covered in dust.”

  19. I was caught once being a little unkind to a kid everyone was unkind to. A teacher called me out on it. She did not punish me with detention (I am sure I wasn’t being that unkind anyway) but the comment she made changed me forever. She said, “One day, Katy, you are going to need a friend when there’s no one else around. You don’t want to burn a bridge with the only person who might be around on the day you’ll need that friend.”

    It taught me to look at everyone – regardless of how they fit into my circle – and see their potential. Not in a selfish way. It really taught me to see the good in others and look past myself.

    Also, I recently moved 3,000 miles by car. So most things in my closet have meaning to me, a very few are collecting dust. The “starting over” was wonderful. New perspective.

    Beautiful, thought-provoking post.

  20. What you have blogged has very much touched my heart and it is so real. I do have countless of things chuck aside in my cupboard but now i have tried to get rid of those i really don’t need. I also had that very same encounter where i am bullied almost daily at school when i was younger and i know how that feels. It is very sad that the people in the world is gradually losing that selflessness and heart for people. But from what you write, i know it will inspire people to be more compassionate about life! Great post! Thanks! =D

  21. I completely agree with what you’ve said here. People focus entirely too much on the monetary things sometimes. I honestly think that no matter how much money you have, there will still be good days and bad days. However, the people around you are what make the bad days more tolerable. Truly great post.

  22. A wise monk taught me this lesson: Turn all the clothes in your closet the same way, and when you wear something, turn it the other way. After a month, give away everything that has not been turned.

  23. Would you mind if I use your ending as a quote on Simply Charming? Of course, with a link back here . . . precious writing I want to remember.

    ‘In the sphere of acquisition, we should strive to cultivate compassion for all life; to place a hand on another shoulder and touch the soul. Perhaps when we acquire a shelf or closet full of compassion and love, then the items on the shelf will be used often; never covered in dust.’

  24. knowthesphere. I am a Hoarder. I cling to all my old things. I keep broken glasses and bottles and convert them to candlestands. I have new chairs but cannot give away the old ones. My house is so full of things I don’t need or use due to being sentimenta. I am guilty. Thanks for teaching me that it is time to let go!

  25. Indeed the letting go of things is difficult. I believe it is part of a longer process of making peace within ourselves and finding deep compassion for ourselves. In finding that we can begin to let those things go that sit on a shelf.

  26. I love the way you tell us that aquirting “stuff” in our lives is not as important as aquiring compassion for all life; by touching the souls of others. To show compassion and love to all around us will make our life collection complete.This may be what we are searching for while acuiring “stuff”.

  27. we recently looked after my step-father (aged92) as he was dying …. he had been an Army Quartermaster in his long career and never lost the habit of buying in bulk … so cleaning out his house after he was gone was an enormous task even though he had been passing things on for a few years … sadly he did not get on with his only child so compassion would have been much more useful than more stuff …and we have learnt a big lesson too … dont leave all that stuff for someone to clean up later …thanks for your post!

  28. There were kids on my school bus and in my class in school like this little “outcast” boy. I started out school myself like this, but was wisely prompted by my elders at home to befriend these kids, to help them, to stand against the bullies who taunted them. Thus, I was known in school as somewhat of a Joan of Arc/Catwoman type, rather than an outcast. I say all of this to demonstrate how compassion and kindness and mercy and lovingkindness transform the person into a victor in life, rather than a victim. You are so very right in pointing out the uselessness of the acquisitive lifestyle.

  29. I have learned this lesson well as my living conditions over the past 2 years have changed from a comfortable home to at first, a tent with 17 other guys to a connex box. Having to be ready to move quickly and carrying all your ‘stuff’ with you, it quickly became apparent all my conveniences at home are as worthless as the dust you mention collecting on them. In between deployments I was able to rid myself of many possessions and even had the wife buy in on the concept. As my second comes near the end where I will finally be back home for good, looking forward to finishing my ‘clean up’ project, living a much less ‘aquisition driven’ life. Thanks for sharing this reminder of compassion. Something I try to focus on always!

    1. You’re welcome.. And I know all too well the lengthy deployments, stuffing crap into a Sea bag and packing the the quad con full of stuff. Good luck to you brother. ~Semper Fi

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