The Challenge of Letting Stuff Go

Two close family members who are relocating to Italy asked me to store their household goods in my 10X10 storage space. What I didn’t realize at the outset is that some of my ‘stuff’ from this room would have to find a new home (given away or recycled). My apartment is a duplex with the lower portion measuring one third of my upper floor. This lower room was piled up with my extra ‘stuff:’ papers, trunks, an upholstered chair, etc. Mama mia! We put things outside for neighbors and passersby to take. A chair which sat in my first home in New Jersey was carried away by a woman. As this continued, I happily and sadly saw my history being carted away by an assortment of people unknown to me. I felt free from the weight of these unneeded goods and nostalgic remembering old times. Doctoral research papers as well as clinical notes and articles from my three-year postdoctoral training still remain. It will be difficult to let them go because they represent so much of who I am. I remember the hard work, the search for knowledge, the conferring of a degree and, later, the training certificate. As I review these files, my heartstrings are plucked as a harp is played. The tones bring up an aria of feelings. Trunks held clothes, pictures and notes belonging to my children. The tucked-away old photos spoke of good friends, memorable events, and sentiments of love. Letting go of the past challenges me like a mild heartbreak. As I write this, my heartstrings are reverberating yet these feelings are less strong as my healing progresses. Giving these possessions away is really an opportunity to grow. Although parting with these is a test, there is a prize at the end of this road: an acceptance of who I am today rather than yesterday. This is another new beginning where I feel lighter and unencumbered. The Buddhist metaphor of breathing is apt here. The out-breath is like a death, which allows for the in-breath –permitting life to continue. I am reminded of one of my favorite books: “The Journey Home,” (Carroll, 1997; See The protagonist, Michael, learns to face his fears, to travel lightly, and to choose life. Michael feels jubilance for his efforts. I’m getting there…I’m on my way. Linda

#family #detachment #feelings #acceptance

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Linda Marsanico

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