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When I placed all my things on eBay for the auction, there were a lot of items I considered to be family heirlooms. My family also considered them to be heirlooms. I was the custodian for future generations, keeping these “priceless” items for the next generation.

When my parents expressed dismay at the auction, I told them they could bid on the items if they wanted them. No one did.

I was reminded of this experience when I read two posts later. One was an article in the Washington Post about millennials not wanting their baby boomer parents’ things. The other was in the Minimalism Facebook group for Phoenix where a woman posted the same thing: her parents had given her china that she didn’t want or have room for.

Generational differences are important to keep in mind when gifting items and deciding whether to accept gifts from parents, grandparents, or other older family members.




9 years ago, in April of 2007, I created an auction on eBay to sell all my belongings. The reasons why are detailed in my blog I wrote during the process:

I feel overall positive about the anniversary, in that I have kept my possessions fewer than before. Still, I purged things I would like to have now, for example some family heirlooms that were functional, small decorative items that were gifts, and serving dishes. I threw the baby out with the diaper pail. In retrospect it is easy to say I should have been more discriminating in what I got rid of, however maybe it was the process that has led me to evaluate what I have and what I need.

One thing that I am much less likely to keep around is paper. Scanners and electronic copies of most records means I can keep thousands of pages of paper and photos on my hard drive and external drive. Unfortunately that means that, instead of papers that I keep filed, I have electronic data that is not organized and keeps accumulating.

How have you dealt with organizing and archiving of electronic data?

Today I spent 3 hours on my Boddhacitta practice.

On my way back from yoga I passed a small group of religious protesters shouting the usual “God hates fags.” On the way to yoga, I engaged in argument. I got agitated, took the insults personally, felt separate from them, and saw how the argument was exactly what they were hoping for.

On the way back, I thought I would try something different. Perhaps the presence of one quiet person could change the energy. At the very least, it would change my energy and how I interact with others. The protesters were in a free speech barricade on the corner of Indian School and 3rd. I locked up my bike and spread my yoga mat on the grass in front of the protesters. I sat down, crossed my legs, put my hands on my thighs, and started meditating.

“May I be free of suffering and the root of suffering. May my friends be free of suffering and the root of suffering.” I opened my eyes and looked at the children that were exposed to the hate-filled language their elders were shouting. “May you be free of suffering and the root of suffering.” My eyes moved to the next child. “May you be free of suffering and the root of suffering.” I looked at the adult male closest to me. Mid-20s, white, shouting at the occasional passer-by until he saw I was looking at him. Then he looked at me and focused on me. Interestingly, I did not even hear him. What he was saying was either true, which required no refutation. Or it was false, in which case it was irrelevant. And there was no desire for dialogue. I looked at him, trying to soften my eyes. “May you be free of suffering and the root of suffering.”

As the parade approached our corner the anger and energy increased. I closed my eyes and focused on breathing. “Breathe in hate and breathe out love. Breathe in anger and breathe out peace. Breathe in fear and breathe out peace.” Someone walked up and touched my shoulder “Namaste,” she said and passed on. Someone else grabbed my hand and said “God bless you.”

Masses of people walked by and I remained sitting in between religious protesters and gay pride celebrants. The screams and insults were too difficult for me to ignore, however I remained in my spot, hands on thighs, breathing in negativity and breathing out positivity. I noticed a number of things. The police did a great job of letting things play out and de-escalating the anger of the gay pride participants. The protesters knew exactly what to say to get a response. In fact it almost seemed like a scripted performance by both the protesters shouting the celebrants’ parents were ashamed of them and the participants screaming back that their parents love them.

It reminded me of most interactions that people have. Frequently, we talk to people to get our needs met. We provoke people to get a reaction. Then emotional agitation increases. If we don’t interact–don’t respond to comments designed to anger–then there is nothing for the anger to feed off of. The protesters would be nothing without an audience. No responses, no shouting even words of peace, then their purpose is gone.


Like anyone who achieves a goal, once I achieved my student loan payoff I felt like I lacked purpose. For the past 5, almost 6 years, I had been working 50+ hour weeks, two or three jobs at a time, to pay off the loans. Once that was done I was so used to working those hours I couldn’t cut back. Even after 5 months I am still getting to the office at 6 am, putting in a 9-11 hour day at the firm and then teaching for 2-3 hours in the evening at a community college.

What has this got me? An out-of shape body and an emergency fund that will last for 10 months. The fund is good. The body is not. So now I have a new goal!