I’ve come to recognize this process I’ve undertaken is more of a distillation than a purge. In actuality it’s both, but it goes far beyond letting go of physical things.
It’s showing me just how powerful thought is.
We assign meaning to everything, right down to a moth-eaten 45 year old outfit for a little boy. We attach people and situations to objects. This belonged to dad. Grandma drew that when she was just 17. There’s a story for everything and we add to it so much so that letting go of the item becomes painful. But ultimately can be so freeing.
While the home, spirit and mind cleansing practice has been taking place, I’ve rubbed up against some difficult choices. Decisions I’ve made difficult. You would have no problem throwing away or rehoming a tiny glass heart with no discernible marks. But it belonged to my mother, along with various other hearts she seemed to collect. And it’s not that, ‘oh, this reminds me of mom and every positive loving memory I have of her is wrapped up in this tiny glass heart,” sentimental kind of thing, it’s more about timing. And maybe respect.
How long do I hold onto something of hers just because she held onto it and she would want me to hold on to it? When is it okay and respectable to let it go?
Writing it out makes it sound as ridiculous as the thought construct from whence it came. These are inanimate objects that we animate with stories.
But its just a thought. Something I made up about that object.
It’s not just her stuff. It can be an item I purchased myself on a whim or a gift I have received, it doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is the story. Attachment to the story.
These items we hold onto, even though we don’t love them, are weight, a burden. As I write this I am looking around my room that is in transition – again – and I could discard over 50% of the items in here. Yet I don’t. I have my mother’s Tarot cards, and my grandmother’s; I have feathers collected by me and my mother; books I think I’ll read, but may never; a desk I can’t wait to remove; a box temporarily housing all the “meaningful” altar items I think I need, most of which I will pass along; and craft supplies for projects that may or may not manifest.
It’s all thought. Just thought.
It’s also an anchor, a cord to the past or guilt or shame, sometimes love and happy memories. But attachment all the same.
I’m not sure where I’m going with all these observations, it’s just where I am right now.
Oh yes, distillation. This feels like the right course of action for me. It’s taking 500 items and skimming 20 off the top, then taking a closer look at those 480 items left and swiping 100 items off the top, then pawing through and considering 380 items and removing 80 and so on until what’s left is the best of the best, the cream of the crop, those items I love, need and from which I gain inspiration.
I could remove everything from my home except a bed, a chair, a desk, one outfit, etc. Get rid of everything in one fell swoop. But there would always be that curiosity of what I had just given up; A cord to imaginary things, ghosts in fabricated stories that would haunt my imagination. I would wonder if I let go of something I needed or wanted but didn’t realize it. And it just feels ruthless and I would miss what is being revealed as the true gift in this daunting project.
With the luxury of going slower I am able gain the wisdom of the process. I get to examine my thoughts, tendencies, emotions and memories. I get to decide. I get to grow.
My goal is not to live in complete austerity. I love beautiful things, I just want a lot less of them. I am convinced that a peaceful, expansive life has everything to do with subtraction.
By taking my time I get to touch every single item I have chosen to bring into my home and my life and let it go. Or not. Or maybe not quite yet.
It’s just a thought. And thoughts can be changed. Even let go of.