Books may be one of the ways you define yourself.
They may be entwined in at least one story that says only a Philistine would let go of a book.
I have one client who has a library that is full of books—so many that they don’t fit on the shelves anymore. They are in piles on the floor, in shopping bags, in boxes, and balanced on every surface in the library. They also line the entire hallway outside the library—but not in some orderly way—they are randomly stacked on card tables, TV stands, and the floor.
This client tells herself a story about how diligently she has curated this collection and that someone someday will want her life’s work.
Whatever supposed meaning or value her story says those books have, the reality is different.
At this point, they aren’t a reflection of this client’s thoughtfulness, creativity, or curiosity. They are a hazard and a burden. They are the source of weekly arguments with her partner. They are the cause of significant debt and the possible loss of her house.
Even in the face of these consequences, this client’s denial is so strong that she defends her choices and refuses to consider letting even one book go.
If this sounds familiar or similar to a situation you’re dealing with, I’ll tell you the same thing I told her.
If you value your relationship more than your books, if you value your home more than your books, if you value your safety more than your books … it’s time to make a different choice.
Don’t confuse an object, even a book, with the experience of having read the book. The book may represent the experience to you but it isn’t the experience itself.
Any more than a photograph of a sunset is the same as sitting on the shore of Lake Superior watching the sun set.
Here are links to organizations and groups that value books and work to get them into the hands of readers who value them, also.
Today’s challenge: set a timer for 60 seconds and settle into your breath. Then set the timer for 10 minutes and review your books, looking for low hanging fruit—the book or books you can easily let go of. They could be mysteries you’ve read, reference books you don’t refer to or cookbooks you don’t cook out of. See if you can find at least 12 books you can let go of and share with someone else who is eager to have a new book as well.