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#Hoarding - Filling the Voids in the Heart & Mind / #family #community #socialresponsibility #positivedisruption




In my last blog post, I spoke, in part, of the Jesuit-philosophy and its impact in my childhood upbringing and graduate studies. A Jesuit I am not though. That said, the underpinnings central to its credence can easily be viewed as somewhat universal. In the instruction of man and woman, that the educator and learner seek to empower mind, body and soul (the heart). This balance is pivotal to forming and maintaining health within us and by extension, our communities.

Keeping the physical body toned and in shape is smart, as is keeping the mind in good physical and emotional health. Moreover, the state of one’s non-physical ‘heart,’ as in the soul, is of vital importance as well. A lack of balance in one of these three will always manifest itself in some way, shape or form in our lives, placing pressure on the other aspects of our being. Balance is good then and heeding or acting on this understanding is wise and fruitful to one, their family and the community they live in. In fact, our energy rises and falls according to the balanced state of these three.

Many have heard of the dictum that ‘as we are within so without.’ What and how we think, what we eat and how we operate all impact and show up on the surface… always. Consider it a universal law. In the Spanish language we say that eventually, ‘se le sale el indio.’ We can’t hide our true nature, we always reflect our inner state outwardly then. Thankfully, we are quite malleable and are free to change how we think, act and are. So that is a good thing. Nonetheless, the older we get, ‘the more we get set in our ways.’ ‘Old habits die hard.’

When it comes to what is known as ‘hoarding,’ this manifestation is a reflection of our combined inner health. It is common sense that a poverty of the heart and mind, coupled with a narrow understanding of the importance of keeping them in good health leads to more of the same. One’s history then repeats itself over and over again as portrayed by actor and comedian Bill Murray in his now classic film, ‘Groundhogs Day.’ One can hoard things, people, money, ideas, birds or even anger. Not letting things go stuffs our lives to the point that it becomes hard to breathe in new life into one’s being. Eventually, if the person lives with others, it robs those around of basic intangible things, like love, joy, the pursuit of happiness, being calm, cool and collected and generally feeling light and free. 

Hoarding is like a river of life that is damned up holding back debris and impeding the natural flow of life to take its course in one’s life. In this sense it is an act of seeking to selfishly impose one’s will to control. A drug addict continues to erroneously look to fill their the void within by reaching forth for substance that short-changes them and tricks the person into feeling satiated and content, when in fact, this short-term illusion postpones the awakening process that one is constantly digging a pit deeper and deeper.

Hoarding is selfish and leads to physical health problems for all who have to live with it. Things can’t make you content. That is common sense. Having a balanced life that focuses on empowering oneself and others to lead rich inner lives can. Letting go of the past is hard but it is the way forward. Perhaps, it may be, that a person who hoards is looking to rectify something that happened in their past and is trying to do so by filling their present with that which cannot love you back. When it comes to raising a family the ‘ante’ is raised because now the hoarder is grievously impacting the lives of others. A hoarding wife or husband divorces themselves from their spouse and becomes attached to ‘stuff.’ A child raised in this environment experiences a form of silent child abuse that robs them of a normal upbringing and goes on to replicate the learned way of life in their own life later on if the issue is not rectified.
How should a community respond to the a child in this situation? Are we our ‘brother’s keeper?’ Or should we mind our own business and let them be? How do our own hearts deal with not doing anything about it? How do we smartly intervene? It is one thing to let adults stack their house with ‘crap’ and it is another thing to leave a defenseless child to have to live in that hell hole.


How do we gently respond as individuals and as communities? Do we shun and vilify or do we engage our hearts and minds to help #eachother?




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