In autumn, my daughter came home from a friend’s house and announced she wanted a bedroom downstairs. I have learned with teens that you don’t oblige too readily, or they forget that it was their idea and quickly withdraw the request. Secretly, I was delighted because it meant I could live totally upstairs with a bit of solitude. Given the next few years of high school, I knew the physical space and distance would offer us a bit of needed respite.
What was not so delightful, however, was the thought of even where to begin. The master bedroom had become a wasteland of things collected and saved for later use. After years of running my own nonprofit and saving every art project I hoped to accomplish one day, I’d created a space and place that was undesirable.
My daughter’s request was like a swift kick in the pants, and I got to work.
What I found after each donation to a nonprofit or each haul to the dumpster, I felt lighter. I hadn’t realized how much that room had been like a dark cloud lingering in my subconscious. Why hadn’t I done this earlier? I am certainly no stranger to hard work.
In those weekends that I’ve given up to clean out, I have had plenty of time to meditate on this question. What I’ve come to realize is that the more spiritually “settled” I am, the less of a load I want to carry–materialistically or emotionally. Keeping all of those items had offered me a bit of connection to important events or served as reminders of what once was, but they’d also created this sense of obligation that lurked in my mind while I gardened or played outside.
The epiphany I have had during this clean out is that I have grown, I have changed, and it has led me to living my life more intentionally in the present.
By golly, how freeing it is to lighten my load!
As my daughter and I traveled on our road trip to IKEA yesterday, I took a moment to thank her. I wanted her to know what it means to have that load lightened and how it has freed me up to feel more positive and excited about moving forward on my journey. I pray she’ll tuck this life lesson into her heart, but just in case it has fallen on deaf ears, I am noting it here for posterity–the blessing of an intentional spiritual life is that your load will be lightened, making a place and space inside your soul for those things that bring you joy.