Sarah Blondin once again speaks truth.
As an experiment, I can remember that everything has a purpose, a possibility or offers something to study, then I can keep it or discard it. This includes people, interactions, experiences, and emotions.
I have stepped into an extraordinary experimental journey. Some of this journey is too familiar, some of it is all new. This is not the first time I have ventured out on my own. It is the first time doing it in my 60’s with my kids who are 2,000+miles away. It is not the first time I have felt uncomfortable with my unfamiliar surroundings; it is the first time I am seeing it as part of a bigger picture, part of a journey of stepping more into myself, accepting more of who I am and what I need to just be me, what I need to feed my spiritual questing.
My journey to Evanston has been much longer than the 5 night car trip via I-40 with Mr. H. It has been everything leading up to this: all the thinking about doing what was right, the packing of my whole house, now rented long-term, selling, throwing out, and giving away much of what I have owned, saying see you later, to friends and family and life as I have known it, because goodbye just sounds like more than the truth.
As I packed up I found myself wondering where I would be when the boxes were opened again, feeling a bit scared and excited. Mostly excited but sometimes it can be hard to feel excited about something in the future I know little about.
I know that I really don’t know anything. I work hard to fill in what I don’t know with judgments, either positive or negative and though the positive feels better, I still don’t know what it is I am doing. I know I am here in Evanston, I know my room is a room, my dog is happy to be with me, and I know that I am slowly trying on this move. I know I am back here in the land of my first 30 years of life to retrieve something or glean something.
I am trying to just let this journey learn me and work me. I am trying to just sit with and turn towards what is uncomfortable, what makes me squirm or makes me judge myself.
I am thinking about the phrase, “What if it Was Sacred”. What about allowing the things that make me uncomfortable to deepen and change me. and so become sacred. I want to be present, and be a warrior to old ideas and limiting beliefs and allow myself to be open and listen to new possibilities and ideas. I want to feel the influence of the new, and what directions it can take me.
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.
Angeles was a cultural anthropologist who took indigenous rituals and traditions and taught how to walk the mystical path with practical feet. She gave more than permission to live a life of following what has heart and meaning. In fact, she encouraged and expected it of those who studied with her. She gave me roots in the learnings about treating life as sacred. She taught the work of listening deeply, going from medium to slow, saying what’s so when it is so and asking, “What’s learning ya?”
I have set things aside in my life because they seemed impossible and I was afraid. Then I went through a phase in my 20’s when being afraid meant I should just do it, whatever it was. And that led to some really stupid and risky choices, so stupid they aren’t worth giving attention to here. Then I had a family and I took being afraid as something to pay attention to. I heard fears as coming from my inner knowing, speaking to me and guiding me in my mothering and “wife-ing” and in my work as a psychotherapist.
Now, single with grown kids, and collecting social security, I am back to looking at what seemed impossible, a move to Chicago. With the realization I wanted a change and wanted to move, the move has gradually become inevitable. And, now with the rental of my home for a year, the mess of boxes, bubble wrap, and sorting, with bags labeled “let go”, this move has become inevitable. As my father said when I moved to CA, “What do you have to loose?” The adventurer in him could say that with the deepest of confidence in me. The confidence I am drawing on again, for a road trip back to Chitown.
First things seem impossible and I am sure they are. Then they seem improbable and then with a push from here or there, they become inevitable. When I get out of my own way, possibilities seem to show up and say, “Hey, notice me”