I hand over the keys to my old house.
This evening I brought my children,
7 and 9 years old,
over to the old house to say goodbye.
We lived there for almost five years,
and when you’re 7 and 9,
that’s a good portion of your life.
They had fun running through the empty house,
their whoops and hollers echoing off the bare walls.
I walked room to room, thanking the house.
I said goodbye to the experiences it held,
good and bad.
I said goodbye to the kitchen island,
the epicenter of my creative expression there,
where so much fabric was cut for sewing,
so much art was made,
many meals prepared,
many words exchanged.
So many feelings now.
Relief to let go.
The pain of still healing wounds,
the memory of the grief and loss,
and the love that was shared there too.
I can remember all of it.
We returned to our new home,
still piled high with boxes,
little paths running through them.
I made a big pot of chicken soup
and we sat in the kitchen together,
the kids goofing off,
giggling with their noodle mustaches,
droplets of broth flying…
I’m grateful for them.
Just when I thought my heart might break
from another surge of memory,
they remind me that
home is here
and life is now
and love is real and present
and there is nothing missing.
Ok. Brace yourselves.
I’m almost all the way moved in.
Just one or two more CARLOADS.
I mean…how did I accumulate all this stuff?
People are telling me
Just be patient.
You just moved in.
Unpacking takes time.
And I’m thinking
I have way too much stuff.
I hoping that my letting go muscle
will get stronger and stronger
as I go through this.
I took one carload to Goodwill today…
toys, shoes, baby clothes, rugs,
shower curtains, towels…
and a beautiful (expensive) bedspread
that we got as a wedding present…
I looked at it last night and thought,
I couldn’t possibly take a new lover
into my bed with this thing on it.
(I mean, I’ve been celibate for 2.5 years,
but maybe someday there will be
a lover in my midst…)
And so this bedspread had to go.
I keep holding a vision
of myself in a better place
and I look at these objects
and ask if I want to take them with me
into my future.
If it doesn’t fit with my future vision,
I let it go.
I didn’t realize that I had been working so hard
my whole entire life
to arrive in this moment
with enough strength
to simply let go.
As I sort through boxes of papers,
kids’ drawings, greeting cards,
old photos, clippings,
my drawings, lists upon lists
of ideas, plans, goals,
as I survey many more boxes to go through,
boxes of stuff…random bits…
appliances, cleaning products,
textiles of every kind,
doodads and thingamabobs,
it brings new meaning to the phrase
Going through it.
I, my friends, am really
Going through it.
I’m going through layers upon layers
of the life I shared with another
when we were married,
when we were a family of four.
He left and took what he wanted.
He left me responsible for the rest.
I am going through it.
It strikes me as odd and yet fitting,
that I would need to take my old life
with me to this new place
in order to see how my old life
doesn’t fit in here.
I had to feel this feeling of my old life not fitting
in order to go through it and release
what no longer serves,
what is too heavy,
too laced with old memories.
I didn’t feel safe letting go in the old house.
Somehow the old things protected me.
But I had to leave the house we shared;
it’s no longer mine, or his.
So I took all our stuff with me,
and crammed it into my new space,
a smaller space,
a much smaller space.
Boxes and bags and bins
and little pathways in between,
it has felt like a hoarder’s den
the last few days,
as I carted the last bits
from the old to the new.
I see now:
My old life is choking the new.
I had to feel this.
I had to feel this discomfort.
I had to feel this feeling
of drowning in my old life,
surrounded by what no longer works,
so that I could clear some space
to welcome the life that wants to be lived
when I’m willing to stand in the present moment,
in a willingness to feel what is alive, right now.
Back and forth
and back and forth
between the two worlds.
And slowly what was before
is transferred over to what is now.
If I keep taking this stuff with me
wherever I go,
I’ll keep having the same experiences
over and over and over.
I’m ready for something different,
but I need to learn to let go.
I can hear the shaming voice,
the one who blames me,
who tells me I never get anything right.
And then I need to just sit and breathe
I can’t get this wrong.
No matter what happens,
life will hold me.
Can I surrender into this infinite embrace,
and just allow what is to be?
When life asks you to change
by pulling the rug out from under you,
when your relationship falls apart,
when your health suddenly fails,
when a source of abundance suddenly dries up,
when nothing makes sense anymore,
to cling to the past is sheer insanity.
At that point, the most lucid response would be
to take a deep breath and feel into the moment,
to see what the moment is asking of you.
The answers are here, now,
in your beating heart,
in leaves stirred by an invisible wind,
in the changing of the seasons,
in the rhythm of your days and nights.
Release the past that is no longer relevant
to the person you are becoming.
Face your future with open arms,
and see what the moment is asking of you.
I shared with a group of spiritual sisters
the woes of my housing situation,
facing eviction, facing uncertainty,
not knowing what the next step is…
And they suggested that I simply let go.
Can I just let go?
The idea of moving
strikes terror in my heart,
even after paring my possessions down
as I have been doing the last couple of months.
What am I afraid of?
Why is letting go so hard?
They told me
so much good waits for me
on the other side of my fear.
When I move through my fear,
I’ll see even more clearly
the path ahead.
God, grant me faith
to surrender into this process of letting go,
allowing the old to pass away,
making space to embrace the new.
Afraid for what awaits
in the emptiness
of my once shared space.
Grieving still what was…
wondering when I’ll be set free
from this self-imposed prison.
What do I need to do to let go
all the way?
The way this works,
if there is one shred of holding on,
the whole thing takes root again
and grows stronger than ever before.
I need grace
to help me let go all the way.