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Posts Tagged ‘letting go’

Journal-BlkLime2More and more lately I’m looking around and wanting to let things go. Personal things. (Well, aren’t they all personal things?) OK, some very personal things. Journals, things related to past loves, books, and of course, clothing. There’s always clothing we could lose. I really am not someone with a lot of clothing, yet I want it gone.

The journals. As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I journal almost daily. I write in the vein recommended by Julia Cameron of An Artist’s Way, and use it as kind of a morning dump. Get all the crap out of my head that’s swimming around unpleasantly so I can move on with my day. I find it quite healing, comforting, and if nothing else, it keeps me writing something. When I’m done one journal, I move on to the next that I have recently purchased. (TJ Maxx, BTW, always has a great selection of journals, if interested.)

The completed journal sits on a shelf with numerous others. But why save them? So today I was in the mood to skim through one of them to see if, indeed, I had left any pearls of wisdom behind before sending it to the great beyond, aka a dump of its own. Skimming reveals certain patterns – things that I have been struggling with over the time period it covers, my search for answers, where I find clues, what I’ve accomplished, what’s made me happy, where I’m going, and what’s keeping me from getting there. It yielded one important piece of information about a medical issue, so I ripped that page out.

And now I can give this journal the old heave-ho. There’s several more that I think will get the boot in the next day or so. It will open up a small bit of physical space, but more importantly, it will open up space in me. Letting go is always helpful. Not to say we shouldn’t preserve some memories, but at a certain point, they’re not even us anymore. Do they matter? Do they all matter? or can we just let some go?

Because when we let go, we make room for what we want to come in. We are always in transition, at some times more intensely than at others. But when we’re looking to grow and change, making room in our hearts, our minds, and even the actual space in our homes can be welcoming. It can be a little scary. It can be very good. We have to be willing to … just … let … go.

 

 

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Each year in my town, something wonderful happens – you can put anything you no longer want at the edge of your property and the town hauls it away for nothing! That day is this coming Saturday. And this morning it put me in a panic.

Last Saturday was the townwide yard sale where people tried to sell that same stuff. At the end of the day, some of it is taken inside and the rest is left there for the carrion pickers who start cruising the neighborhood in their pick-ups and vans. You can put anything out for those folk, but no items containing freon, electronics, and lead-based paint kind-of-stuff for the town pick-up. I’ve watched my neighbors put out bookshelves, office chairs, an air-conditioner, two small stools, and it’s already been picked up and gone.

Hydrangeas2

I took these this morning – so lovely.  (They are actually here just to break up the text — enjoy.) 

It’s a great deal, so why panic? I already knew what I was putting out – a bunch of items that are beyond ready to go – my ancient sewing machine, (yeah – from high school!), an equally ancient vacuum whose motor just won’t die, but ran out of intact attachments, a broken lawn chair – you get the idea. When I woke up, however, it was apparent that my mind had already been running amok with what else I should put out on the curb.

I started mentally racing from closet to closet, back down the basement – what WAS in those 2 large cardboard boxes? Did I really need that old heater? Back upstairs – my turntable died about 6 months ago – it could go, too. Was I going to replace it? If not, how many of those LP’s do I need to keep? And into the pantry – did I need those canisters on the top shelf? What about the indoor electric grill – I haven’t used it since I lived here … and suddenly it dawned on me. I could get rid of maybe 10% to 15% of my belongings and it would make no difference in my life.

Wow. I was blown away – what a concept. Then back into panic mode – how much of this stuff could I conceivably get on the street in time?

OK, whooooaaaaaaa. Slow down, Nellie. It doesn’t have to all go out this Saturday. Or ever. We can think about it.

On my own behalf, I’ll say none of this is new stuff that I just got tired of – it’s stuff that I’ve gathered and used over the years, some of which genuinely needs replacing, (like the sewing machine.) And to think, I have very little storage space – a tiny basement, no attic, and no garage. My home is neat, and clearly I’ve learned to maximize storage space.

It’s time for a change – I’m ready to start letting past parts of my life go, whether 3-dimensionally or maybe metaphorically. The not wanted, the not used, the not needed. I’m ready to feel lighter, and unbound by things and ideas which populated my past, and … someone will take it away for free.

My breathing has slowed – I’m feeling lighter already.

 

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Perfection sucks. Plain and simple.

This is not to say we shouldn’t strive for the highest standards or do the very best we can do, but striving to always be perfect is a useless and demoralizing task. Yet it’s how many of us live and  how many of us were raised. Things had to be perfect … we had to be perfect.

When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target.  ~George Fisher

Growing up, many of us had parents and teachers that believed in perfection, and who were no doubt raised the same way. Every little thing had to be just so. No messes, no mistakes. It’s hard for a parent to teach a child that not being perfect is really OK when the opposite message was enforced in them. And so the manacles of impossible perfection get passed on from parent to child.

Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.  ~Salvador Dali

Even knowing this, we get caught up on this search for perfection again and again. Like a piece of cloth catching on a rusty nail as we walk by, we lament the tiny new bubble of thread in the fabric instead of seeing how beautiful the whole still remains.

You see, when weaving a blanket, an Indian woman leaves a flaw in the weaving of that blanket to let the soul out.  ~Martha Graham

We feel compelled towards perfection in our need for immaculately clean homes, spotless clothing, the perfect score in golf, the car without the tiniest of marks in the finish. We must have perfect grades, the best performance in our jobs, in sports and other accomplishments, berating ourselves ruthlessly when we “fail.” We are so horribly unfair to ourselves, is it any wonder so many people have difficulty reaching goals and dreams, having allowed so many stumbling blocks to remain in our path?

Always live up to your standards – by lowering them, if necessary.  ~Mignon McLaughlin

I was once given an assignment. I was told to put a deliberate flaw in every drawing I did as a way of getting past my fear of the drawing being less than perfect. It still is a challenge that I cringe before, and if I do it, I can’t let it stay for long. Perfection takes away the enjoyment of the moment, of whatever we’ve worked on and completed, and … the enjoyment of others, too. For those of us who were raised this way, it’s a lifelong challenge, but let it go.

Let perfection go. Pick it up in your hand and blow it away like the tiny fluffs of a spent dandelion. Because here’s the truth. In the deepest sense of the word, we are already perfect. And we never need to try so hard.

Sometimes… when you hold out for everything, you walk away with nothing.  ~From the television show Ally McBeal

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