Second place can be better than first. A tiny ribbon can be preferable to a giant trophy. It takes time to know what is meaningful in our life stories.
There is a great deal of paraphernalia that comes with raising children. A multitude of worksheets come home from kindergarten, art pieces populate elementary school and trophies congregate in the closets of high schoolers.
I have adored every paper, fine print and trophy as if I were a museum curator. We have had congratulatory dinners, we’ve gone out for ice cream and called relatives to brag. Now it’s time to lighten our load.
My children do not need to be 30 years old, busy with children of their own and listening to me harp on them to help me clean out my closets. They are surprisingly aware of what is truly meaningful and what made wonderful memories but can be let go.
This is an important life skill.
Somewhere I (and maybe you?) got the message that if a thing has significance I must keep it.
My best friend did me a huge favor. She threw my favorite photo of us into the ocean.
We were 19 years old. We lived as free spirits in Maine, hopping on the ferryboat with her guitar in tow. Flirting with the boat’s captain as we came and went, we sang Joni Mitchell songs on beaches and ate salads I’d packed in Tuperware containers. It was an incredible year.
So, when I prepared to leave and we were melancholy, we held the camera out in front of us and snapped away. It was a glorious photo. “Your copy’s in the mail,” she said. But it never arrived. And she’d tossed the original in the ocean because she wanted the two of us to always remain there together.
I am certain that photo cannot live up to my memory.
It has grown in mythology because I long for it so.
Letting something go doesn’t mean we don’t love it. It means we trust we loved it well enough.
I think my children are ready to part with their trophies because they felt celebrated. Having something to hold while you call your uncle to replay the game on the basketball court is a powerful thing.
If you allow yourself to feel the moment, it is enough.
The trophy did its job and we can all move on.
How will you know when to let go?
- Give yourself time. History has a way of absorbing the glow, and one day you will have sucked all the juice out of your treasured item. At that time, it will be easy to part with.
- Create a memory by letting go. On the other hand, burning it, or otherwise making a ceremony of letting go at the height of its glory might preserve the memory without needing to keep the item itself.
What are you holding on to because you think you’re supposed to keep it? Do you have a special memento from long ago that puts a smile on your face when you touch it? What would get better in your memory if it disappeared and could never come back?
My friend threw our photo off the edge of our ferry years before Titanic came out in theaters. I wondered, when I got my DVD copy why I watched this scene over and over. Today it finally makes a little sense. Sometimes there are moments of our lives almost captured but we can’t quite connect the dots. We just know we have love, curiosity or some other strong emotion. I call these moments altared spaces.
I am taking time to tend my home. It’s part of my 4-step philosophy in Soulful Cleansing. Identify – Notice – Address – Tend. I’d love to have you join today’s discussion by leaving a comment, join the team and stay in touch or join the class.