Burn Your House Down

What if your house burned to the ground today while you were at work or at night and you and your family barely escaped alive? Have you or someone you know had this experience? Losing everything can be a traumatizing and horrible experience, but it can also be a cleansing event that helps us center and focus on what is truly important in our lives.

Before I go any further and before you read any further, I want you to stop and write down the 100 most important things (physical objects) that would seriously impact you and your life if they were lost in a fire or other disaster. Don’t look around the house for ideas. This should be done randomly. Include only what first comes to mind. Now limit that list to 50, 25 and then 10 items. Rewrite the list to include only the 10 most important things (I’m assuming all people and pets are safe at this point) you would save from the fire. What 10 things in your house would you be willing to risk your life to save from a fire?

Now I want you to think about the other 90 things (or however many you wrote down). Would you run into the burning building to save those items? How important are they? What value do they add to your life?

This can act as a good reminder to cherish what is truly important: friends, family, memories, time with loved ones, creating beautiful things, laughing, playing, talking, crying together. We all need things in our lives like toothbrushes and tube socks, but they are easily replaced.

More important than the digital picture frame, camera, and pictures are the memories made with the people in the pictures. More important than the television are the people around us that we laugh or cry with while watching our favorite movie. Love the things that matter and let go of those that don’t.

Use the list you made to prioritize what is truly important to you. You can refine and revise the list, but remember those things that truly matter. When we do this, we learn to let go of our attachment to things and attach ourself to people, memories, emotions, ideas, creations. This is where truly beautiful things are found.

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