During the month of April Heartworks will be focusing on releasing and letting go. The inspiration for this theme is our annual yard sale in April.
Every year I bring up the topic of letting go of what no longer serves us. It’s a time for all of us to go through our homes, our beliefs, our relationships and let go of what is keeping us from living fully. This month is about helping us to hold loosely to the things we truly love and let go of the things that block us. For me, all of this letting go talk is easier said than done, for sure.
In any true spiritual discussion there always seems to be a theme about releasing and letting go. And this is for good reason. It has been said that letting go is the single most profound healing suggestion ever made. I say it is probably the most difficult suggestion ever made.
A magnet on the refrigerator at the Heartworks House reads: LET GO OR BE DRAGGED.
I am NOT a natural Letter Goer, so when I saw this magnet at a farmer’s market in Boulder last year I thought maybe if I see these words everyday it would help me with the letting go concept.
Sometimes it helps, sometimes I need to be all emotionally scraped up before I realize just how long I’ve been holding on to someone or something. I have been dragged thousands of times by attachments to people and things that weren’t working in my life. I have been dragged by stuff in my house, stuff in my closet, old boyfriends, friendships, work, a mindset, an emotion or view point stuck in my head.
I used to get dragged A LOT because if I’ve loved someone or something it feels unnatural for me to let go, even when it is clear we are not good for each other anymore. I tend to love so full in, be it a friend or my navy blue LL BEAN backpack that knew all of my high school AND college friends that it just seems insane to let go. As if the memories and stories would evaporate with the word “goodbye.” I forget that with the exception of very few people and things, relationships and backpacks are meant to serve a purpose and then move away from me or me from them. It’s the way life works, and yet it is always hard for me to say goodbye.
In the past few years I have gotten better at releasing. And by “better” I mean when I cleaned out a drawer a few months ago and found pictures of my daughter when she was a baby that had gotten wet and stuck together, I threw them out instead of googling how to get pictures unstuck or sending them away to a lab somewhere. This felt huge for me.
When I recently redid my living room over my daughters objections, their questions were “Your going to get rid of that cushion? Didn’t Grampy sit there when we were little?” “How can you paint this room mom? Its been yellow our whole lives! Now it’s going to be blue?” “Did you take pictures so I can show them to my kids when I’m grown up what it looked like when I was little?” And “Where are we going to sit next year to read “Twas the Night Before Christmas?”
So clearly I can still use some practice this month because now I have apparently dragged my kids along with me!! And let me be clear about something- it’s not that the other people or things do the dragging- I grip on and allow myself to be pulled when I refuse to let go.
It is almost always impossible for me to let go of things I misperceive as nostalgic or meaningful. I make things permanent that are not meant to be permanent. I had to set a boundary with my 45 year old sister in law a few weeks ago while she was cleaning out her closet. The boundary was “If you wore it in high school it’s time to let it go.” She disagreed on many well preserved stone washed jeans and diagonally cut sweatshirts.
What she was doing was trying to make something permanent that was not meant to be permanent (Thank you Fashion Gods). I knew what she was doing because I do it too. I forget that just because I love someone or something and they were meaningful during a specific time in my life, that it doesn’t mean I have to hang on to it FOREVER. Again, this can be anything from a sweater or a chair to a relationship or viewpoint.
I dig my heals in and stay in the clutter of my mind, my memory or my garage. I make the unconscious choice to stay cluttered in a misguided attempt to avoid the feelings of letting go. I like the thought of my high school notebooks being up in my attic. I need to know where they are in case Bono calls for an album cover idea. I like my father’s wool sweaters piled up in my closet, even though I have absolutely no room for them. I am sure that if we had texting and Facebook back in 1969 I would still be friends with the infants that were next to me in the nursery at New York Hospital.
It is soooo me to live in the house I grew up in. I love it. It is home. I have lived other places, but it is only in a white house with black shutters, two houses in from Olcott Ave. and half a mile from my high school that I actually feel at home.
When I lived in Colorado nobody could understand why I continuously flew home to New Jersey. I flew home for every holiday, family birthday and any other excuse I could find to leave the beauty of the Rocky Mountains in order to be home on Old Army Road.
Then I Married a boy I passed a thousand times in the hallways during my childhood and teen years and who’s childhood house is 8 miles from mine. When one of my closest friends bought my husband’s childhood house a few years ago it made me so happy! I didn’t have to let go of MY house or HIS house!! This was clearly WIN/WIN in my not let go of anything head.
The major problem with this is that there are two guarantees in life , change and loss. I am not a fan of either one and so I must continue to work on this letting go thing. And this is what we plan on doing this month at Heartworks…work on sorting through our closets, homes, minds and emotions and see what presents itself.
At this month’s Heartworks meeting we will commit to releasing in our homes, relationships, emotions and ideas that need to be thrown out, passed along or sold at our yard sale. In preparation for the meeting I am CONSIDERING letting go of :
- 2 black side tables I love but have nowhere to put them since I painted my living room
- My parents’ 1974 edition of World Book Encyclopedias (these will FOR SURE cause a stampede at the yard sale)
- The concern of what people think of me and if they understand what we are trying to do at Heartworks
- SOME my Dad’s ties that have been hanging in my closet since he went to Heaven in 2005
- A picture I bought when we first moved back into Old Army Rd that I have nowhere to hang anymore
- Negative thoughts about myself that serve no other purpose other than to beat myself up.
So please join us in the intention of releasing and letting go during the month of April!! We are accepting items for our yard sale on Thursday April 21st at the Heartworks House- it is a fun weekend of purging and then shopping!!