In this year of focus on connection, I find myself wondering why we humans get so attached to things. Why do we find, collect, hang onto and attach meaning to physical objects ? Why some things and not others? How do our feelings get projected onto our stuff? Nostalgia for the past and aspiration for the future. Love and loss. Pain and pleasure. At what point does a healthy attachment to material possessions morph into materialism? Where is the fine line between collecting things and hoarding them? I have no definitive answers to these questions, but looking from the perspective of the different energy centres of the body may shed some light on our connections to things.
The root chakra is about connection to ancestry, tribe, and the earth itself. We attach to things that we feel we need to survive, and stuff that reminds us of our corners of the world and where we come from. Do your treasured possessions add to your sense of belonging and groundedness? Do they truly speak to your culture and your roots? Are you hanging onto memorabilia passed down from ancestors that no longer serves you or brings you joy ? It may be time to dust off the objects you feel truly rooted to, and repurpose or pass along things that are simply taking up space.
The sacral chakra is about connection to our emotions and with the emotions of others. Our centre of sexual and creative energy. The place from which we create and find beautiful, evocative things that bring joy and pleasure. Is your stuff a true reflection of your inner world? Are your most precious and beautiful belongings hidden away or displayed? Are they all but lost in the clutter of too many things? Do you hold back on fully expressing yourself through the clothes you wear and the decor of your surroundings, choosing function over form and muted colours and practical pieces over fun ones?
The solar plexus chakra is about connection to trust and power. We collect objects that signify comfort and securtiy, as well as acheivement and social status, from our cozy favourite sweaters to the gilded diplomas on the wall to the new car in the driveway. Most of us have things we have acquired and hung onto because of their material value, or to project a certain image. Do your posessions help you feel safe and secure? Confident and in control? If your desire for shiny objects far surpasses your need for them, it may be worth taking the time to evaluate the authenticity of your relationship to material things.
The heart chakra is our connection to love and compassion. We get attached to things that are gifted to us, and pictures and objects that remind us of those we love. We displace our love for people onto things sometimes, like a child clings to their favourite blanket. Over a lifetime of love and loss, stuff accumulates and it can be difficult to part with. Ask yourself whether you are keeping things for love or simply nostalgia. Sometimes we hold onto things because actually touching them feels too painful, such as the heartache of going through that box of a deceased loved one’s possessions, or rereading an old love letter. Bringing awareness to the the emotional charge we attach to objects can be healing..
The throat chakra is about communication and speaking our truth. We stay connected to things that tell the stories of our lives: words we have written and books we have read, pictures of places we have been and maps of places we want to visit. Documents and objects marking important life passages. Have you grieved the loss of key pieces of your story to moves, theft or fire? Do the things you have managed to hold onto reflect your personal narrative? How do you want to be remembered?
The third eye chakra is the seat of consciousness, our connection to wisdom and the present moment. We are drawn to things that help us learn and grow, and tap into intuition and deeper levels of consciousness. Do the objects you collect actually reflect your life as it is now? Some of our collections are like time capsules frozen in the past or hope chests for futures we are not actively creating.
The crown chakra is our connection to all that is and the dissolution of the myth of separateness. At the end of the day, all of our connections to objects are temporary. Things get lost and broken. They eventually fall apart. We no longer need them and pass them along to someone else, or give them back to the earth. Do you look at objects that come into your hands with a sense of possession? “This thing is mine and I am keeping it”. Are you willing to share your things with others or give stuff away to those in need?
This summer, I plan to look at my relationships with physical objects through more discerning eyes. Keep the things that are useful, treasured and meaningful, and start to let go of things that no longer belong to the life I am living.
How do you connect with the things in your life?