This is not the first time I’ve downsized and let go of stuff. I sold my house in Red Wing and moved into a townhouse one year before I moved to Sweden. I did another round of downsizing when I moved out of the townhouse to head overseas. I’m doing it again in preparation for a simple and more flexible way of living. Plus, I don’t want a storage unit, nor do I want to burden my parents with too much stuff in their space.
Hard to Let Go
I thought letting go would get easier. Yet the ‘stuff’ leftover is the stuff that has the most emotional connection for me.
It was 2005 or so, and I was pushing myself hard—running a business with multiple employees, teaching 12 credits at the technical college, and going to school myself. Suddenly, my body couldn’t take it anymore and I got really sick. Unable to move kind of sick.
Anyone who knows me knows I have limited capacity for movies and television. I’m too restless and really like doing stuff all the time (although that has become much better since Europe.) To get me to sit still for 2+ hours was a feat—unless I was cuddling, multitasking, or at a theater. I was so exhausted I watched the whole Godfather series back-to-back without fidgeting.
Learning From My Students
My teaching assistant taught my classes then stopped by with a card and this bear from my students. I was shocked! So much so, I don’t even think I gave them a proper “thank you” when I did have the strength to resume teaching.
I honestly hadn’t thought my teaching performance was high-level. It fell far short of the quality I demanded of myself. Stressed out and distracted, I flagellated myself for my lack of attentiveness and awareness of their individual struggles; my lack of support; the ability to communicate the nuances of energy, touch, intention and healing to them; my ability to help them heal. I didn’t feel as connected emotionally or energetically to the students as I had in past years because I was too busy doing stuff to focus on the relationships. I learned that perhaps they were more forgiving of me than I was with myself.
This bear has served as a reminder to me to be gentle with myself. To find balance. To let go of internal and external expectations. That health comes first. That relationships are more important than stuff and doing.
The Other Side
Yet at the same time the second hardest thing to let go of was my PILES of flashcards. To me this represented time, schooling, energy, the intent to absorb all the knowledge conveyed in my classes. I threw out piles before I even decided to take these pictures. I felt like I was throwing away hours of work + piles of knowledge.
Flashcards in French and Swedish, of homeopathic remedy themes and indications, anatomy cards highlighting parts of the brain and where all your organs attach to your bones and other soft tissues. They felt like a time capsule of my big tests and academic passions from high school to this year.
The Anxiety hit…maybe I should save them and start studying again! After all, it would be great to brush up on my French. I used to be fluent-why not fire up those neurological pathways and capture the beauty of the language of love? Stuff my free time with remembering all the stuff I used to know?
Let Go to Grow
I’ve done one vision board in my life. It’s three pages (because I folded the board like a book to organize it into personal, professional, and travel. Letting go of stuff reminds me to grow. That clinging onto past relationships, belief systems, icons, and self-imposed measurements doesn’t serve.
I also let go of letters from students and past boyfriends, of cards from people who have died, as well as the subtle belief that I need those items to keep those memories and feelings close to my heart. The items themselves do not make me a better teacher, mentor, healer, or person. The lessons I learned from those people are invaluable. I can honor that best by facilitating similar life-changing experiences for those who ask.
What Are You Ready to Let Go Of?
I’m not still talking about stuff, although maybe that is it for you. What do you envision in your life? What would make you joyful, free, happy? I can help you explore and let go. The clutter, the self-judgment, the expectations. You deserve it.
Are you interested in a deeper conversation about how explore this yourself? Schedule a free session with me. I’d love to help.