We have to say goodbye, to make room for something new

I feel a great movement in my life. I feel it in my heart right now, like a weight, the heaviness that is all of this life swirling around me, ever-changing, outside the grasp of my fingers; no matter how tightly they close, I am left with air, and myself.

We have to say good-bye, if we are to move forward. I said goodbye to some of my old things, today. It was all the things that have been piling up, since I started applying Marie Kondo’s process to my life and going through my belongings. I felt a real sadness, in doing it. There was a final moment of hesitation – will I regret this? Am I really ready to let you go? (I am coming to believe we always are ready when it’s time, though that doesn’t make it any easier.)

I think sometimes we try to rush goodbyes, as if they don’t have to happen. We throw away old things without taking a moment to say ‘thank you’. We are awkward in saying goodbye to each other. It’s because we don’t know what we are supposed to do with the feelings that come up. Yet, the whole point of the feelings is… to be felt. And until we feel those feelings, feel the sadness, say our ‘thank you’, say our ‘goodbye’, we can’t truly move on in peace. It’s like the ritual our body needs to go through to actually let go of anything. And yes, there will be sadness. That’s just part of it. Part of the purpose of sadness is to clear the way for whatever will come next. We have to clear out the old, to let in the new. Shedding tears is a symbolic way for the body to acknowledge what we are letting go of; it says, ‘Look, you were a part of me. A part of myself I have to let go, too, to say goodbye to you.’

I took the time to hold some of those items in my hands, to feel and appreciate the place they’ve had in my life, before I gave them up. Even though I already decided to let them go, the actual moment of releasing them was emotional. I let go of an old tapestry that’s been on my wall. I let go of old biking clothes. ‘Maybe you’ll need them one day!’ my mind protested. But they’ve served their purpose, and I trust that I will be able to find what I need next time, and that maybe something new and different will be appropriate, for whatever inspires that need.

I let go of my old textbooks from the World School of Massage. I have had so many interests already in my life, tried to put my hands in so many different pursuits. I think in holding onto the relics of that unfinished thread of massage school… I thought I was giving myself an easy way to go back to it? But it’s actually a burden, to carry that unfinished task around. What if I got what I needed from that place? It already served me deeply. I know I don’t plan to have a career in massage. Maybe I can let these things go, let that old Emma go, and in doing so, make way for the new. Maybe I’ll end up back there, maybe not. If I do, it won’t be out of a sense of obligation, or burden.

I’ve gotten rid of things before, but never like this. Never with ceremony. The ritual of this process feels deeply important, now that I’m doing it. The point is to stir up the feelings, to actually be present with what I’m doing. The point isn’t just to get rid of extra stuff – it’s to be more conscious of who I was, and who I am now becoming. To let go of the pieces that don’t fit anymore. It’s a reminder that everything has its time, that when it’s time for something to go, or to change… there’s a way to honor that, to accept it, to be graceful about it.

We’re so busy these days, yet so shallow. Every object around you can be meaningful, if you take time to pay attention to it. Otherwise, we take our things for granted. And I think we do the same thing with people. I see my habits with my belongings… there’s a carelessness I’ve had, a standoffishness… a selfishness. And you know what? I’ve done the same thing with my relationships, with people I treasure. I let them become just another object in my busy life. I didn’t actively care for them the way they deserved.

It’s not a punishment, when things I love are taken away from me; it’s a lesson. Be present. Treasure what you have. Let go of some things, if you need to. If your life is too full and busy, how will you be able to take real care of everything? The kind of care that requires slowing down, paying attention, noticing the small things. The kind of care that really brings us joy to exercise.

I’m wanting to just… take better care of my belongings now. And it isn’t a burden; it is a joy. I think that’s a mental switch we all need to make sometimes! Life isn’t a burden, it is a joy! If it feels like a burden, something is out of balance. And life will help you rebalance. It might not feel like a blessing when it comes – only because we get so stubborn, so invested in our ways of doing things – but it will be. Death is a blessing. Goodbyes are a blessing. They pave the way for something new.

Lessons I am integrating, as I go through this process of tidying up my life:
– Less can absolutely be more. If you own too many things, or have too many obligations, then your energy gets spread thin across all of it, and there is no depth or meaning.
– Saying goodbye to things is a blessing. It brings sadness, but that reminds us what we care about and what is important. It reminds us that nothing is permanent, and therefore, we must treasure what life is bringing us right now. It is a mark of strength and honesty, to look directly at something or someone you are saying goodbye to, and to feel.
– We want to always rush immediately to the next thing. But there is no real room for the next thing to grow in your life and thrive, until you clear out the old.
– Going through your things, deciding what belongs with you and what doesn’t… truly strengthens your sense of self and your ability to make correct decisions in your life. It’s a real way to practice asking and answering ‘Is this what I want?” How many times have I been struck dumb and anxious by that question, “what do I want?” So anxious I was to find the answer, I started trying everything. I made my life so full of things, as if it would help me find the answer. But it’s more powerful to take things away, than to add them in. Take away the excess noise, and you can hear the sound of your own voice again. It’s a process, one that requires some work and patience, one that I am only just discovering, but that I unflinchingly recommend, to anyone who feels a little too much chaos in their life from time to time.

That’s all for now, friends. Sending love and appreciation to all who find their way here; I hope it brings you something beautiful.

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