I wrote this one several years ago and am a few weeks late posting it this year. It is always a good reminder for me, perhaps even more than 1x per year. ~cameron
Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes, it’s letting go.
Last night, I was reading a meditation on the freedom of letting go. Barbara Johnson shares this analogy: “Letting go is like cleaning out your closet. You may not want to do it. You may want to hold on to all those things in case you want to wear them again one day—remember, the favorite pink shoes from 1996 or the hat you took to the beach (before your child was born). That clutter impairs us from seeing what is available. As you clean out your closet, you find that great black tee shirt that fits just right or the missing camisole you need to go with your blue sweater.”
Barbara Johnson then makes this statement: “It is not easy to turn loose of hold habits or resentment, but when I do, I am rewarded with a great sense of freedom, as though my spiritual ‘closet’ has been decluttered.”
I will admit that I am a recovering pack rat both literally and figuratively speaking. Having been a preschool teacher on a shoe string budget, I learned to salvage or recycle any item that could become a paint tray, makeshift book shelf, homemade toy, or a playground item. That “illness” spread into my own home where a guest bedroom spent a year as a “holding place” for possible craft activities, woodworking projects, house paint supplies, etc. It took me a good week to get that place organized and thrown out, but when I did, I was able to create a wonderful art studio for my daughter and me.
In terms of my spiritual “closet” I know I have a tendency to wear the same things over again—I will continue to analyze a problem that is no longer relevant or worry about an issue over which I have no control. My thoughts become cluttered by things of the past rather than focusing on the present or future. It’s amazing though—when I take the time to clean out the old issues and concentrate on new solutions, like organizing and prioritizing, I feel so much better. Better yet, as I’ve learned to live in the present and just be in this place and time, I’ve found that I need fewer material memories–that my spirit is filled by experiences, relationships, and even, lessons learned.
Permitting ourselves to let go of the anxiety, negativity, or pain not only supports our spiritual development but also our mental and physical health. It also gives us the opportunity to grow as human beings—learning new things about ourselves, for example, that we are resilient, that we do have some choices we can make, and that we grow stronger with each new transition in our lives.
So on this first day of Spring, I will be celebrating by decluttering here and there and freeing myself to embrace what is and what will be, even if it means turning loose of those favorite shoes from 1996. (My daughter will thank me, I’m sure!)