We are in full-blown yard sale mode here at the Heartworks House, hence the whole theme of “letting go”. (Get it? Cause we are all going to be getting rid of stuff? Clever right?) So the sign outside the house now reads:
LET GO OF WHAT WAS
This phrase reminds me of last year’s yard sale and my mother’s deacon’s bench. If you don’t know what the hell a deacon’s bench is, it’s a colonial style wooden bench, and the bench I’m talking about was one that was in the foyer of my house growing up.
The problem is that when we hang on to things that no longer work for us or fit in our changing lives, it causes us suffering. I have very little interest in unnecessary suffering, so I have to work daily on this theme of letting go of what no longer supports me or my family.
Now, back to the deacon’s bench. The deacons bench sat in the foyer of my house on Old Army Road my entire childhood. It was positioned so that you could see out the window onto the driveway. I sat there waiting to go to swim team practice, waiting for boys I loved to pick me up for dates, and it’s where my siblings and I would sit early Christmas morning, until my mom was ready to open up the family room doors.
I remember after my dad died and it was time for my mom to move out of the house she couldn’t find a place for the deacon’s bench in her new home. And for some bazzare reason it made sense to her donate it somewhere. Ummmmm….. Nope. We are not donating the deacon’s bench to a random charity where the memories may get scratched, broken or bought by the wrong person. A total stranger having the deacon’s bench?? Thanks but no thanks, Mom.
I had a functioning table in the old spot where the deacon’s bench was and could not for the life of me find another place in the house for it, so it sat in the basement for years and gathered dust. Every April when the Heartworks Yard Sale would come around, I would look at the deacons bench and think it was time…GULP….to let it….GULP…go. Then my mind would start gripping onto the memories, the significance of the damn deacon’s bench and again I tried to figure out where I could put it in my home but I still couldn’t find the right place. So it stayed where it was… until last year when I got up in front of a room full of women at the April meeting and gave a similar speech to the one I gave last week, blathering on about the healing available when we let go of what was.
I warned that when we all got home, and were going through things to donate to the yard sale that our minds will grip, reject and fight the letting go process. YES sometimes it feels awesome to clear out stuff from the house, but there will inevitably be items we will come across that we will resist giving up.
The Heartworks Yard Sale way of thinking is that when we pick up the candlesticks we have never liked, (even though we registered for them ourselves 15 years ago), be aware of the resistance that will arise. Breath…. and put the candles sticks in the box to go to the sale. And yes, even if they are in a robins egg blue box. For me, the more I practice letting go of material things, the more I am able to let go of the bigger stuff like relationships, people and expectations when I need to be letting go of them. When I am faced with letting go of the bigger stuff, I want my brain to have already practiced the pattern of resistance and letting go of things like candle sticks that I never used in the first place.
Last year, after I had given my letting go schpeel at the meeting , I went home and saw the deacon’s bench all dusty in the basement. I realized I was being a total friggin hypocrite and had to practice what I was preaching (damn it!), so I brought the deacons bench to the Heartworks sale. Because I am who I am, when I got to Heartworks with the deacon’s bench all the Heartworkers helping to set up the sale had to hear all about my tale of letting go woe and all the stories about my siblings and I sitting on the bench. My mom and sisters sat there patiently while I processed letting go for the 10,000th time. I placed the bench in the furniture section of the sale and prayed to God to help me let go. I thanked Him for all the memories it gave me. I prayed that it goes to someone who needs it and would love it.
The bench had served its purpose in my life and was ready to move into a new foyer. Then I walked back into the Heartworks House to get some pricing stickers. While I was inside, one my soul sister besties arrived at the preview sale. At the time, she was going through a divorce and was re-decorating her home. She was in a really tough spot and it had been a long road of struggle for her. It was one of those situations that you just want to fix for someone you love, but can’t. I had wanted to make everything better and easier for her. I was having fantasies that I had enough money to fill her new home with beautiful, comfortable, meaningful things so that she felt good opening her eyes every morning. I reached down to get my stickers and that is when I heard the screeching and the screaming coming from outside…
“Does Megan know??? Oh my God!! This is so awesome, she’ll be so happy!!! Where is she? You have to tell her right now!!”
When I ran out to see what all the commotion was about, there was my soul sister bestie sitting, who’s home I soooo wanted to decorate for her, sitting on the deacon’s bench. She thought it was beautiful, comfortable and now that she knew I had sat on it Christmas mornings, it was meaningful too. She happily bought it and we carried to her car. Because I had allowed myself to go through the pattern of resistance and letting go, an awesome scenario was created that was way beyond what I could have thought to ask for.
My soul sister bestie said I could come and visit the deacons bench anytime I wanted.
I have yet to visit it. I haven’t felt the need.
Reflection: Let’s use the yard sale as an opportunity to practice the pattern of resistance and letting go. What do you have to give that feels tough to let go of? What happens for you when you do let go?