Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Midnight Globe Spins

I’ve been collecting books for years now and at certain points in my life, I have taken sections of those books and sold them, clearing space for new books. As I moved from place to place, I seemed to accumulate more books. Sometimes I would lose track of what I had on the shelves and end up with two copies of the same book. Recently when I moved into my new space, I felt for the first time ever a prisoner of my books, of the books that meant so much to me sitting on the shelves, many unread, but waiting, teasing, serving some purpose unknown to myself. Were they a placeholder to fill some void all these years of rummaging through second hand stores and used bookstores? I had never felt that or maybe I didn’t want to believe it, but for the first time—and it could have to do with also finding love again—but for the first time in my life, I don’t feel the need to keep all of these books. Even if I had the space, which I currently do not, I would not be too sad if I gave up many of them. I don’t have tons of books like many here, but I have enough boxes of books that they are a sort of nuisance because I don’t have the space. They stay hidden from me. If I don’t peek inside and just throw the box to the sea, I would not miss what was inside of it. The moment I lift the lid, however, is when I have second thoughts.

I have not moved many times, but the few times I have, there was much to let go. I wondered how I accumulated so many objects, so much paper, so many words. I was especially selective this time on what would come with me and what would be donated or thrown out. It was difficult. Each trip I made to donate my things, I felt that I had gotten rid of a lot of stuff, but it seemed that there was still so much. I felt it pressing down on me, my stomach in tangles. There were moments I sat and stared at everything tossed about on the floor in piles. Piles to keep and piles to give up. I took my time, not wanting to make the same mistake I did last time, which was to box everything up and deal with it later. I needed to make choices now, conscious choices that would leave the unneeded old energy behind.

Even though I am now settled into my new space—our new space, there is still a small chunk that I need to release. The bulk of items that this applies to is books, old school work, my journals, and clothing. I realized that some journals go back so long ago that they no longer have a place in my life. I also realized that by hanging onto these journals, they are merely sitting there collecting dust and not being used productively. Part of me wants to select how far back I want to go and find the glimmers of light, the pieces that I can use or glean inspiration from; the other part of me wants to take all those journals and toss them to sea and start anew.

I am happy to have unloaded of many items I no longer needed that didn’t move me, but rather seemed to keep me in a sort of limbo. As the weeks and months unfold, I would like to continue releasing these objects and live with the very minimum. It feels good not to feel a prisoner to these things, and I feel more at peace with my books and know that I will slowly release many.  I don’t feel a deep attachment where I can’t let certain items go, but when I see them, they may speak to something deep inside of me that thinks I should hold onto this or that.

In life it is important to live without regret.

In life it is important to feel free, yet learn how to navigate through the spots that feel constricting.

Life is amazing.

Life is that great midnight globe that spins and spins and lights up and sparkles. I thank you dear Universe for smiling down upon me, and I forever ask for your guidance in all that I do.

Peace and love to all.


Moonwillow said...

Years ago I was faced with the challenge of tossing my prized Allure magazine collection. Just like your books, with every move it became a nuisance. I finally did the deed after realizing I hadn't looked at them in years. Clearing clutter from my life is magical. I always feel lighter afterwards.

Vincent said...

It’s good to read something from you again and especially on a topic so dear to my own heart: books, particularly the collections of books which follow one round to different addresses.

I was refreshed to see that you are bold enough to prune and discard books, even journals. There are so many I have unaccountably lost (did a house-guest quietly take one away? Did I say “You can borrow this” and did both of us forget all about it later?). There are those which I’ve discarded and later regretted.

But somehow, like old friends deceased or no longer in touch, they remain in our hearts, more perfect, less flawed than the real thing.

I can never decide whether what I truly love is out there in the world, or in here in my heart.

Vincent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
keiko amano said...


Good to see your blog! Your photo is always excellent, but this is delicious! I can't imagine this is real, but I know you're the photographer.

About having two same books, don't I know the experience. Nowadays, I let my habit go and bring one with me either to the U.S. or Japan depending on the situation. But I justify my habit because I don't drink or smoke or gamble. And those books are almost literally like investment.

For instance, I brought 史記 to the U.S. this time. It's about the oldest Chinese history written by Shibasen. The narrator is my favorite scholar, Kaiduka Shigeki. I bought it for only 100 yen, about one dollar (technically 84 cents currently, but). On the cover, the price is printed as 200 yen. The same book new today cost over 1000 yen.

With this kind of habit, we can get rid of them if we need to, but because of our talent in find the bargain, we can also pick up the wonderful habit whenever the circumstance allows. That's the way I see it. I went through major book crisis three or four times so far. Everytime, I said to myself, "No regret." But, yes, with some regret. But I think there is no life without any regret.

Rebb said...

Moonwillow, I can imagine how difficult it was to let go of your magazine collection. I agree that clutter cleaning can be magical. It really is a nice way to communicate with the Universe and putting the intention out there that we are ready for something new. Wonderful indeed! Thanks for visiting and commenting :)

Rebb said...

Vincent, Your collection of books through out your lifetime must have been quite spectacular. I can easily visualize myself getting lost in your libraries. Yes, that is true—that our books, like old friends, do remain in our hearts just the way you describe it, which is perfect!

The last question you pose…could be a little bit of both rather than either/or.

Good to see you, Vincent. As usual, you are writing the depths of your soul on your blog, I see.

Rebb said...

Keiko, I’m glad to see you! The photo is an Iris in a pond at the San Francisco Japanese Garden. I still want to post some of my photos from the Portland Japanese Garden. I’m glad you appreciate the photo. I love the way the water looks. It does look like you can take your finger and lick it like frosting.

I have justified my habit too because I don’t drink, smoke, or gamble either. Yes, definitely books are an investment. And I know you have many gems! The one book you describe sounds like a true treasure in your collection. I know you have many special books. It must a nice feeling being surrounded by them.

I really appreciate how you put our habit and how we have the talent to find the books again, and at a bargain—even better. “No life without regret.” I think you are right, Keiko, This is such good wisdom to reflect upon—thank you.