On Letting Go
When we first started talking about living mobile, one of the biggest draws for me was living minimally, simplifying, and getting rid of material possessions. I love the idea of everything serving a purpose and having its place. I've kind of always been a minimalist - there's a story my family loves to tell about all of us kids going to the drive-in theater and me getting frustrated because there was "too many crap" (toys & blankets) in the bed of the truck - but the idea of really paring down to essentials is more appealing every year.
So we bought the bus, and bit by bit I started getting rid of the things I owned that weren't necessary, condensing clothing, art, furniture, hair products... Everything. Some things were difficult to part with, but I was definitely drawn to the idea of non-attachment so I thanked each item for its service, and gave most of it up.
I talked with my friends about non-attachment. I talked with my family. I understood why getting rid of everything isn't everyone's thing, but with every article I let go of, my resolve strengthened - Things are just things.
What I didn't see happening, though, was my growing attachment to how I thought this 'bus life' thing should look. All winter long I saw it in my mind - packing up the bus, buckling in, heading south. I saw the music we would listen to and the hikes we'd go on. I imagined us laughing with my sister at the farmers market in Virginia, looking at art in New Orleans, swimming in my moms pool in Southern Utah, reading books on the beach. I pictured us planning each week, where we'd go for internet to get work done, where we'd adventure. I fantasized about the meals I'd cook, the places we'd camp, the outfits I'd create out of the few items of clothing I kept (I may have gotten rid of most of my wardrobe, but I'll always love fashion). Every month or so, we made plans to leave, and every month, something came up. Each time, I got more frustrated that my plans hadn't come to fruition. In fact, it wasn't until last week when Kyle got offered another big mural project here in Detroit and it became apparent that we would be here a bit longer that I realized - I haven't been practicing non-attachment at all. I've just been transferring my attachment onto expectations, rather than material items (then getting crushed every time things didn't work out that way).
It was a rude awakening when I realized it. Here I thought I was getting ready to live this easy-breezy minimalist lifestyle, but I had completely cluttered my brain with attachments to ideas of how things should be. Once I really started paying attention to it, I noticed that clinging to these ideas was holding me back just as much if not more than any material attachment would have. Living in a bus and being self-employed demands flexibility. I was genuinely allowing these rigid plans get in the way of my happiness, and for what? There was no payoff whatsoever.
So I made a conscious decision to let it all go.
The truth is, bus life looks like whatever it is at the time, and whatever it is, it's pretty magnificent. So what if our departure date has been pushed off a few times? All that has meant is more money and networking opportunities, and more time spent with family in the area. Maybe we won't make it all the way around the country before we come back for more gigs, but so what? The point remains that we did what we set out to do, which is convert the bus with our own four hands, and spend time in it together, building a business and spending time with people we love. Letting go of the attachment of what things are "supposed to be" has allowed me to enjoy what is, and "what is" is pretty damn awesome.
What are some ways you've let go of attachments to ideas or material items? I'd love to hear tips and tricks on letting go. Leave them in the comments below, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!