People from all around arrive at the village before 10 a.m. paying their 10 kronor ($1.55) to enter the waiting area outside of the soccer field. As it gets closer to 10 more and more people arrive and you can feel the excitement in the air. No sooner and no later but at exactly one second before 10 a.m. there is this huge inhale of breath and it is as if all the air is sucked out of the space. Then the second hand moves and the moment it becomes 10 a.m. the stampede begins as people rush through the barrier tape. The ground vibrates and you can hear the swoosh as people run to their area of choice.
I find this fundraiser brilliant in so many ways. Just watching the market from beginning to end tells the story of the modern social construct of Sweden. It was like watching the scenes of a play where everything I had read or had been explained to me was acted out in a three act play.
In a world where we are so attached to things and find it difficult to let go of them, Köpinge village has build into its customs and rituals the mechanism of the annually purge of things. It is the annual renewal culminating the last Saturday in July where the old is discarded making room for the new. It is all dressed in the altruistic garb of raising money that goes towards their children. And in return their children are provided mentors and activities that are both beneficial to the individual and the community.
Many members of the community put in lots of time just to make this day happen. Some even take vacation in order to devote enough time. It becomes an event that binds the ties of the community together. Each year the community comes together again to make it happen. What a marvelous annual event.
(Note: This is the village that Vanim grew up in. His sister and brother and their families live there now and his mother plans on moving back there as soon as we have moved out on our own.)
I have been through this process before. When I moved last year I took three truck loads to the local thrift store as well as a number of things that ended up in the dumpster. Ten years ago I was introduced to the work of Karen Kingston and her book Clear Your Clutter with Fung Shui by a good friend. At that time in my life I started to see a connection to my life and the clutter accumulating in my life. I have begun seen clutter as an outward expression of my inner world. For ten years I have been in the process to declutter my life only to find that it is full of clutter again. I have really taken a serious looked at the relationship I have with the things and objects I keep accumulating in my life, that is until yesterday
With each object I am selling, giving away or throwing away I have asked myself what is my relationship to this particular object. So far I have identified three different relationships I have with the objects and things in my life. I might need this thing or object someday so I hang onto it. I have a memory that is associated with the object or thing that I do not want to forget. And last of all the object is something I use in an activity that I really enjoy.
I might need something someday so I hang onto it. Most of the objects in this category were not even fit to give away and should have been thrown away when their usefulness ended. I had a pair of dress shoes that had holes in the soles and were no longer fit to wear. This is a relationship about the fear of scarcity, that I will never have enough.
I have a memory that is associated with the object that I do not want to forget. I would like to believe that I will never forget those memories but I know better. I have worked in nursing homes before and seen many old people that have very little memory before they pass on. Once again this relationship to objects is based in fear, a fear of loss.
The object is something I use in an activity that I really enjoy. It is not the object that I enjoy but the activity that the object is used in. In this case the relationship has been one of misplaced connection. The true relationship is in doing things I love.
Consumerism has become a demon that haunts me. It consumes me with my possessions. Understanding my relationship to objects and things helps exorcize the demons from my life. This is the beginning of shift from the perspective of objects possessing me to one of me having objects for a specific purpose.