This is hard for me to admit…but I am a pack rat. Before making our move abroad, my husband and I went through a dozen purging and cleansing cycles of selling, donating, and giving away many, many, many of our belongings, much of my things were still boxed brand new and tagged. Years and years of possessions that I accumulated: shoes and outfits that I would wear one day to some unbeknownst special occasion that never came or sized implausibly smaller than whatever my body could presently accommodate, appliances, devices, and gadgets that provided solutions to problems that thank God I never encountered, purses, accessories, and books that I’ve either overgrown, outdated, or lost interest in. Several closets, a two-car garage and a storage unit full of items, space fillers. I think oddly enough while I was collecting all that stuff, I somehow assured myself that this was me in preparation, that when called to task I would be ready for whatever life threw at me. But the truth is that in order to truly move forward, I had to let all of those things go.
Holding on tight to our stuff is comforting and gives the illusion of safety and some semblance of control. Pacifiers, blankets, and stuffed animals, we have been socialized to self-sooth with things since birth. For most of us, the baggage is not only material but also spiritual. We create whole identities and define ourselves by the stuff we own or what we have been through. The triggers, the traumas, the stories, the secrets, the lies, the role playing, the expectations, the disappointments, the guilt, the desires that we keep locked inside ourselves, are all our soul burdens. In addition, we are often bound to the metaphysical ties we've created in our connections to others; we have unintentionally and willfully contracted ourselves to stay loyal, stay close, stay the same, stay available, stay accessible, stay rooted. Embracing change in these cases becomes troublesome as we fear the impact of our growth.
There is also baggage in the hard knock lessons we learn along the way; what we’ve rationalized and deduced after we’ve reflected, critiqued, justified, and analyzed our experiences to death, when we “overstand.” Some of us call this awareness, consciousness, or being “woke”, nevertheless, we are still storing, recording, piling up and carrying our emotional luggage from place to place, season to season, person to person. Some of this stuff is sweetly packaged and neatly compartmentalized; at best, we pray to keep our junk from spilling out of the suitcases, but our baggage is magnetic, karmic, and cosmic. We attract what we carry internally.
"Some of this stuff is sweetly packaged and neatly compartmentalized; at best, we pray to keep our junk from spilling out of the suitcases, but our baggage is magnetic, karmic, and cosmic. We attract what we carry internally."
The art of letting go is something I am still trying to master. My ultimate goal is to live more minimalist but honestly I am a far way from that. How freeing will it be, though, to fully step out and from under all that stuff? Clearing out my closets means that I am learning to uncover, to reveal, to forgive, to release, and to relinquish control of others and myself, to surrender. I share my journey because I am presently on it, making my best efforts to live in integrity and in congruence with what I seek. I don’t have all the answers and I’m not perfect in my quest or my execution. Although I am progressing, everyday I am tested and sometimes I make mess instead of magic. Regardless, I am in this, visible and present, not behind my personal effects, my personal struggles, or the weightiness of other people. Moving on does have costs but it can’t be sold or purchased.
What is your process for letting go and/or moving on? Share your stories with us.