4/2/17 Thoughts on weeding out, de-cluttering and letting go.
I have nothing new to say here, I just have my thoughts, my pain, and ultimately my freedom. I want to make the letting go significant. I want to know that what I let go of, makes someone happy or is useful to someone.
I held on to things and let go of many. I still have 40+ boxes of stuff stored in my garage! It all needs another good combing, but not this time around. I held onto a bathroom rug that was my mother’s. It seems silly, a bathroom rug, really? Not just because it was my mother’s but because it is good quality and big and I think of my parent’s house in La Jolla that offered such comfort to all of us, my kids, their dad and I. When I see that rug, I think of feeling well taken care of, having plenty…plenty of love, connection, and things, lots and lots of beautiful things..
I held onto the New Yorker cartoon of a zen monk meditating with all of his crap behind a beautiful screen, a cartoon my mother framed and had hung in the bathroom which is a tradition I have kept. It has been in a bathroom ever since she gave it to me. It will go in another bathroom one day again. That is, if I can find it in all the well-marked boxes. Well, my intention was to “well mark” them. I just won’t know how well marked until it is time to find something, like the framed cartoon for the next bathroom.
That cartoon represents a tradition in my family of emitting peace and holding the crap behind the screen. This is the tradition I keep trying to change with every move I make. With each move I make a little headway and always wonder what I will do with all this stuff when I am a Buddhist nun somewhere in my future dreams. I am tired of the energy it takes to keep turning away from what is behind the screen. And yet, the struggles of letting go are deep and ancestral. I have gone through nearly every item I own in detail, making decision after decision, keep, don’t keep, keep, don’t. I am doing it, sometimes down to a spotted paperclip or gold pen, or the metal yardstick my mother felted the back of so she could use for sewing.
Some of these decisions were choices my mother didn’t want to make. Or was it her way of leaving something of herself behind? I know I am holding on to things to leave something of me and my history behind. As I am packing I wonder if my kids will be the ones to go through these boxes and what will they think about or what unanswered questions will stir in their minds.
Many people have quoted the feng shui book to me, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. They tell me all I have to do is hold the object in my hand and ask if it makes me happy or do I love it. But the questions are more simple and more complex than that. There are objects that hold memories, memories I want my children to learn about, memories my mother wanted me to learn about, memories that keep the lineage, and the familial connection to what is good, true and beautiful. And the memories have energy. It is that energy I am trying to untie from and still hold onto the memories. And the whole time, the chatter in my head is saying you are letting go of the wrong things, the valuable things, or you are holding onto the wrong things, the things that don’t really matter. The truth is, I am holding onto what I am not ready to let go of yet.
I let go of 8 car loads to the Good Will, 4 trips to the consignment store, I sold a few beds and furniture on OfferUp and Nextdoor. and took two trips to Clars Auction Gallery . I brought Clars a coral necklace still with the Marshall Field’s box. It was my great aunt’s and then her daughter’s and then my mother’s and now mine. It now seemed easier to let go of. For god’s sake, no one has worn it for over 40 years or possibly longer. It sat in the box making me nervous that I would somehow lose it or it would get stolen. I knew it was time and it would have been so much easier to let go if nice the lady at Clar’s hadn’t explained to me how it was made and the details of each bead, the gold, the cameo. But I stuck to my guns and it is up for auction in April. I may regret it, but I may feel a bit more free. I won’t know till I am somewhere in my future life, nun or no nun.