The American Dream is what I bought into when I was growing up in the 1950's. It seemed then that having material wealth, social prestige, political correctness and job security was indeed the "golden egg".

However, when the "flower children" of the '60's started to question material, social, political and religious institutions and coined the phrase "make love, not war," a small crack appeared in the American Dream.

Unfortunately, that crack has grown into a gaping maw and America is now experiencing the "American nightmare." People are losing jobs, homes to foreclosure, and families to stress. Downsizing is the order of the day and "letting go" is the mantra.

I experienced a small portion of letting go recently when I was reunited with over 80 boxes of stored "stuff" which I hadn't seen in 9 years! I wanted my things to be closer to where I live, in a warm climate, and to pay no storage fees. I accomplished this in September when I bought property in Winter Haven, Florida.

The largest U Haul available brought my things to me and I was somewhat embarrassed that I had saved so much for all these years. Of course some of it is very precious, like the family memorabilia, photo albums and my books…boxes and boxes of books… But much of it really is not necessary for me to have let alone to live.

So I hunkered down, got very objective and sorted, repacked, donated and threw out various items. As I did so, a sense of accomplishment and lightness came over me. Possessions weigh you down, I thought. Why do we as humans do that to ourselves? The answer that came to mind was "because we can." Somehow we equate having things with being valuable when in fact our value comes from "being" not having…being alive!

After two days of due diligence, I felt physically stronger from lifting boxes and furniture and going up and down 14 steps at least 15 times a day for a week …and emotionally cleaner. I've lived a varied life with joys and sorrows. I've raised a family. I was brought up a decent human being and have lived by a moral code I am happy with. I've served the world by helping people to be healthier and hence happier. I've traveled extensively. I've loved deeply and been rejected deeply. I'm an ordinary person who has lived an extraordinary life. I AM GRATEFUL. AMEN.