Streamlining: Vital Insights

In sorting through accumulated notes, books, journals, magazines, personal items, letters and cards, as well as CD’s – stored in boxes (from several moves and still unopened), drawers, and cabinets – the following reflections came to mind:

  1. Precious time: I do not have precious time to ponder over each accumulated item!
  2. Perfectionism: I must not be overly perfectionistic in my streamlining and organizing tasks.
  3. Wasting precious time: Remember that I am wasting my time and life in spending too much time in deliberating over trivial items!
  4. A timeless proverb: Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish”!
  5. Always ask: How important is this? Why spend a lot of time making decisions about items that are non-consequential and will serve no-one?
  6. Serve others! Remember, I must use my time and talents for far more productive and creative ventures – and that will serve and benefit others – rather than to almost endlessly sort through old, accumulated items!
  7. Old letters: Realize that I cannot keep all the old letters from past friendships and acquaintances that I have collected and stored! Only keep those from meaningful relationships.
  8. Old letters: The problem is that I just don’t have the time to go back over old letters and to spend precious time re-reading them! I need to live in the present – not in the past. An exception would be letters with timeless principles and spirituality for enhancing life.
  9. Relationships: The person I knew 20 years ago is no longer the same person! (Even the cells of the body all change over time.) Nor am I the same person I was 20 years ago. Therefore, in relation to former relationships, from my experience, it may be better to “let sleeping dogs lie”.
  10. Energy levels: I don’t have the same energy levels that I used to have 20-30 years ago. Therefore, I must do only what is consequential and important – not to waste precious time on trivia that amounts to nothing!
  11. Past good karma: The good works I have performed – the positive karma – has been sent out into the universe, and will benefit me at a future time. Therefore, old letters or notes of personal encouragement may not need to be kept, unless they are personally very meaningful.
  12. Ask: Do I need this particular item? Or, is it of value and greater service to somebody else? If it is, then lovingly donate it. If it is not, then throw it out!
  13. Recognize the myth of passing on of old items: Remember that most people do not want 20+ year-old items and materials. This includes many magazines (unless again, the magazines are still truly meaningful). Therefore, to dispose of them may be the best action.
  14. Shortness of time: I simply do not have the luxury of time to go back over all the accumulated and hoarded items that I have set aside, and now to savour them all!
  15. A reality: Remember that during these many years these years I have not needed or missed our stored items! Therefore, it is not the best use of time to now spend energy on the stored items.
  16. Nearing 70 years of age: After 70 years of life, I can surely learn from my own experiences as to what is worthwhile and what is trivia – and so now I must quickly dispose of trivia!
  17. A strange truism: The only time I stop and pause over old items is when I am organizing and de-cluttering! It shows that many items were not that important after all – otherwise I would remember them.
  18. Heart question: Can I, in good conscience and faith, hold on to items that we are clearly not using – when there are people who are hurting and would value what we have?
  19. Preciousness of time: Realize just how precious our time is! End-of-life is certain – but the exact time is unknown. Therefore, be more ready.
  20. Serving others: Do my best to help others and engage in positive deeds – send out good energy into the universe and remember the irrefutable law of karma!
  21. Virtuous living: Devote all my time to virtuous acts – not waste my time on trivia!
  22. Think back and ahead: It’s now almost 19 years since my mother died; the time since then has slipped by quickly. Realize that I may well not have another 19 years ahead of me!! (Seventy years of age, plus nineteen years, brings me to the age of eighty-nine!)

Date: October 29, 2019 (during Diwali). Reflections by Alex and Eva.

(Revised March 6, 2020)

People often make the mistake of being frivolous about death and think, “Oh, well, death happens to everybody. It’s not a big deal, it’s natural. I’ll be fine.” This is a nice theory until one is dying. Then experience and theory differ. Then one is powerless and everything familiar is lost. One is overwhelmed by a great turbulence of fear, disorientation, and confusion. For this reason it is essential to prepare well in advance for the moment when the mind and body separate.
(Tulku Chagdud Rinpoche)