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Letting Go and Moving On

Phew, what a week!  My furniture is now all moved to it’s new residence, either at my new house or in someone else’s house.  I stuck to my guns and let go of a lot of things that were not easy to part with: my great grandmother’s couch and chair set which had been in the family for four generations; several antiques I’d collected and refinished, my great grandmother’s costume jewelry (I kept one piece), the guitar I bought 20 years ago and still have not learned how to play, my television, my bed.

I was struck by how much my taste has changed over the past five years.  When I moved into this house, I was in love with all of the items I parted with (ok, the antiques, not the TV).  Most of them now just make me feel heavy.  A few I’ve kept because I still like them. They tend to be the really simple ones; the ornate stuff all turns me off now.  The elegant Ethan Allen vanity I have used for the past decade I now want to switch for the simple one of my childhood (in the guest room at my parent’s house).

Despite the struggle to say good-bye, now that these items are out of my life, I don’t miss them one bit.  This whole process is so eye opening!  My mother thanked me for having the strength to let go of that living room set, something she was unable to do herself (and instead gave it to me).  Isn’t it funny how objects can have such a hold on us?  I don’t know how many times I had to remind myself that my great grandmother is not in that couch.  In fact, she’d probably be astonished we still had it in the family!

Incidentally, I donated most of the big items to a fund-raising sale for London chapter of Grannies for Grannies, an organization affiliated with the Stephen Lewis foundation, which raises money to send to grandmothers in Africa raising AIDS orphans.  I’m sure my great grandmother would approve, especially since my own grandmother has an association with this group as well, I have just discovered.

I’ve found a lot of other things around the house that were really cluttering up my life with their energy, as well as their physical presence.  Clutter in general is distracting and draining, but add to that things that invoke negative feelings and you really have a barrier in your life to moving forward.  For example, I found a bunch of “why it’s better to be single” books and cards, poking fun at relationships and men.  Hmmm… not terribly helpful to making space in my life for a relationship, is that?  Yes, it’s all now in the recycle bin (I couldn’t bring myself to pass that kind of stuff along).

I’ve also been tossing all my “what if” items.  Things that I was holding onto for some future possible use.  I have been getting much better at leaving my ideas about the future fairly unstructured so that opportunities that I had never thought of would have room to join those I envisioned.  For example, the new home I am in the process of moving into is not something I had ever envisioned. Had I kept a strict focus on moving to Ottawa area, I would never had even considered it.  But I kept my options open, and this opportunity is really wonderful.

To do the same for my long-term future I have to let go of physical things that may narrow my options, objects that I was hanging onto because I had a particular vision of my future.  I am letting go of pretty much all my visions of the future these days – kids, career, location – and just focusing on the short term.  If I am happy today, tomorrow will take care of itself.  There really isn’t anything more I can do about it.  So no more kids toys collecting dust in a hope chest, or projects I may get around to *some day.*  Today what matters to me are my friends, family and animal companions, my research, studying homeopathy, and taking care of my health.  That’s a pretty full plate, so anything that doesn’t support these aspects of my life need to be let go.

I am not there yet, although I’ve made very good progress.  I have noticed that the more times I go through my things, the more things I am able to let go of.  My first time culling my books I was able to eliminate 5-8.  The second time I doubled that, and the third time I managed to get rid of at least 50.

Recognizing the energy vampires in my life has been quite a challenge as they are often not obvious.  I have found that only by removing obvious clutter do new objects and aspects become apparent as more clutter.  It’s therefore important to do many rounds of this process.  Unpacking will be the next round, which should be interesting.  But first I need to finish culling at this end, and I had best get back to it as there is still a lot of junk lying around and only a couple of days left to deal with it.


One Response

  1. Happily, I’ve always found that, as you’ve suggested, the more I get rid of the easier it is to get rid of things and the more opportunities come in after the fact. It’s still tough for me sometimes, especially when I can see the value in and justify a lot of what I own (all those books are reading material when I stay in and don’t spend money, all the blankets are good for winter warmth, all those balls of yarn are to make warm clothing, etc.), but it does always feel worth it in the end, and I’m trying to gradually get rid of the stuff in my life to make room for new opportunities too.

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