Daily Archives: June 22, 2009

Getting to Nothing: the firestorm method


Someone sent me a short TED talk by filmaker David Hoffman whose house had burned to the ground nine days before he came to the TED conference. For a man who lost his entire film and photo collection, not to mention his STUFF, he was quite chirpy about it all.

I just looked at it, I didn’t know what to do. I mean…was I my things? I always live in the present – I love the present. I cherish the future…

[I lost it all in] Twenty minutes! Epiphany hit me, something hit me. “You’ve got to make something good of something bad.”

Maybe he’s telling the truth and this stunning loss is just another minor pimple on the ass of progress to him. Or maybe after nine days he’s still in shock and denial.

I knew a woman who lost everything in the Oakland hills fire back in October 1991. She had been a marriage counselor, married to a (overbearing asshole)  psychiatrist. A year later she had divorced him, quit her counseling practice and gotten a real estate sales license. She had also begun studying for her own Bat Mitzvah (which she finally had, at 55).

Although she had had a beautiful home filled with lovely things, she told me it was the best thing that ever happened to her.

I don’t think I want to take that route…

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Filed under Downsizing, Envisioning a simpler life, Inspiration & encouragement, Spiritual lessons