If you had to leave your house today and could only take 10 items with you, not things like passports, documents, photographs, computers, etc; say you were moving into a 1 bedroom apartment or loft (from your current life) and you truly had to part with all your belongings and could only keep 10, what items in your life today would you take with you ? Again I don't mean things like dishes, pots and pans, etc.
I've been working on my list of 10 items for a few months. I read a blog post on a MFA classmates website that made me start this list; the mental and emotional considerations as I've documented the list have been interesting.
While I was in Ghana last year from mid October to early December, I also thought many times how the people and families I lived with in the Kissemah compound don't have stuff and they get along just fine, they wake up in the morning, go about their lives, they work, play, go to church, celebrate holidays, and they have very little in terms of possessions.
In the volunteer quarters that I lived in, I had a bed, a dresser, a tiny sofa and chair made out of bamboo and a mirror. Oh yes and my dear friends, the overhead fans. I brought printed on paper 8.5 x 11 pictures of my family and Maddie and Morgan and taped them to the wall. I also had a few books, my clothes, my backpack, iPad, camera and I used Renee's phone while I was there. That is it. I had nothing else.
Many times as I sat the room at night after my bucket shower, I would look around and think - this feels good, this extremely simple life has so many upside and benefits. It's hard to explain the experience: stepping into a routine, environment, climate, culture, that is so drastically different in every way that you can image, made me think many times, how truly blessed I am.
And I don't mean thoughts like the Hallmark Card greetings kinds of thoughts, I mean deep down in my heart and soul raw emotions and thoughts. In Kissemah I had time everyday to consider my fortune in having met the Mawuvio's children and teachers, Ceci, Stefan, Ben, Kwame and Renee and all that I've learned from my travels and visits there.
Back to the list, I was at dinner with friends last night and their parents, Bob and Linda, are visiting Atlanta. They are now in their 70's. Bob and Linda shared their story that at age 55, they sold their house in CA, sold most of their belongings, bought a motorhome and traveled throughout the USA for 5 years ! They both said they wouldn't trade those five years traveling around the country and would do it again without any reservations. In the motorhome, I don't imagine they even had room for 10 items.
I have a notebook that bounces back and forth from every room in the house, I write notes, lists, ideas, etc. I started my 10 Items list on the last page, I wanted the list easy to get to and in the notebook the list seems guarded.
I have 10 items on the list; I am now in the process of negotiating with myself on why some should be removed to make room for items that I have not yet identified. A majority of the items are artwork and I don't find that surprising.
# 7 on the list, my Fish Noah Bells wind chime. I will include a photograph one day. I purchased this item at a very cool store in Laguna Beach. I was not aware then that every bell in a Noah wind chime is handmade and individually tuned. The melodies created between the bells and the sister winds are wonderful ! ! ! When I post the photo you will know right away why this item is on the list. The colors, the fish, the connection to Laguna Beach, the simplicity, the relationship with wind, it all resonates with me. The chimes sing poetry.
Below is the link to the blog post I referenced above. If you have 5 extra minutes, I encourage you to read it. The post is titled, Every Picture Tells a Story or Does It ? The writer is Carol Fant, it was posted in early February of this year.