The hidden away stuff has surfaced. I don’t think it was hidden away because I didn’t want to address it. It’s just piles and piles of pictures after all. I am not so sure how I feel right now. My heart feels weird. My mind feels strangely free. My heart.
Bins, boxes and piles of pictures from my baby days to my babes baby days. I have moved them from home to home and around the basement many times. I have looked at the scrapbooking supplies and thought about using them. With enthusiasm, we dragged them all to the living room where they sat in full sight for weeks. A project to be tackled on a snow day but the snow was never deep enough to keep us in. So with excitement, dread, a heavy heart, laughter and all sorts of other emotions, I tackled the bins. Everyone else was less attached as they rummaged through and laughed. I realized I was staring at my life. Their lives were such a small part of those piles we started with. What was I carrying around and why for so long? See, these thoughts happen in my head as I take in my surroundings, as if I am out of body, looking into the scene in our home. It’s a weird feeling but I do know when I feel this way, paying attention is really important for me. I started with my younger years - the photo albums that have the sticky, cellophane pages - and I looked through, laughed, shared. All those emotions of a girl I did not recognize, people I could not name, moments that tugged at my heart. The thread and fabric of my life in pictures lay before me. Bizarre that so many of these pictures meant nothing to me. Such detachment. I started to recycle many and moved the albums back to a bin. I made piles of prom, graduation, party pics, old time selfies where our heads were cut off and the “free” doubles you received when you had your pictures developed.
There were moments that I would hold a picture up to share and laugh and it meant nothing to those around me - they could not identify with high school me, sorority me, party me. My love understood and gave me a nod and a smile. I did not sleep well on Sunday night. I guessed that it was the emotion of the evening spent culling through my life. Yesterday, I went through each and every picture and moved my old boyfriends, party days, bad relationships shown as wonderful in pictures out of my house. My husband came home to two paper bags full of those memories and a small pile of those moments and people I know and remember that I will keep. He kindly took the last step of putting them on the curb this morning. Not all is gone and those that I have saved mean so much to me that I will likely keep them forever.
This box of photos lives in so many homes and is one of the most asked questions around my feng shui work. Especially for those families separated by divorce. Bringing awareness to what you are holding on to and making strides in moving on and letting go is great growth on your journey to recognizing your true self and simply being free. Those physical photos that I recycled are engrained in me and my growth but they are not who I am today, just a small part. They are evidence of how I learned to love, to be a friend, to succeed, to fail and to simply live my life. The physical space is free of clutter and so is my mind. The old me no longer sits in my basement, keeping me rooted to a past that simply no longer serves me. This letting go makes room for the new and the journey ahead. I feel excited in this moment.
I do wonder how my heart will integrate all of this as it just feels strange today. A little smiley, a little free, a little sad. I am excited to tackle the piles of the beginning of Chris and I and our journey as a couple and as parents. I sit curious as to how this will all impact me - this extreme letting go of who I am no longer.
You see, I walk this road with you. I have stuff that accumulates, that lingers. Things that keep me cozy in the past. I think that is why I approach my work with such compassion. I know how hard this is and how you feel. I feel it too.
By mid February, I am so over winter. I have a few snowmen decorations that I leave out past the holidays to adorn a shelf or windowsill and about this time, I just want them to melt away. They get packed up with the holiday decorations and I call in Spring with all that I have. This year, they sat on the windowsill above the kitchen sink. I had just freshened up the sill with a coat of paint in the Fall and it looked so pristine and clear once the snowmen were put away. I stood there one day with the sun beaming in and filling up this beautiful empty space. It was lovely. Clean, crisp, warm and so calm. As I puttered around dishes, dinner or sipping my coffee, I relished in the silence of that sill. I was at ease as it simply held the light or sometimes my racing mind. I began to notice that I turned to it morning after morning.
Recently, I dove into a new book, Clutter Intervention by Tisha Morris, I came to a section titled “The Fear of Empty Space”. All the words flowing on the page were about filling a space because we are afraid of what the emptiness or silence will reveal. Tisha relates that empty space to conversation, our calendar, an empty wall, silence filled with background noise. I was struck by my connection with the small empty space that I had created. I realized that when I feel stuck, the first thing I do is move a few things around, such as move the reminder of winter off of the windowsill despite it still resting on the ground outside. Making change in our space creates a sense of newness which opens us up to opportunity.
The next morning as I took in the sunrise over the empty windowsill, I began to truly appreciate what this empty windowsill gave me. Is there an area of your home or office that you can empty? Are you ready for a little silence, rest for your eyes and mind? As I continue down this path of creating space, I ask that you join me and see how it feels. Pick a space that you see daily. Maybe your bathroom counter. Just give it a go for a few days, weeks and notice how you feel when taking in that space. Whatever suits you and your life but find peace in the empty rather than fear.
I have tried this with our family room coffee table but this keeps happening (not staged. real life). I will continue to refine and encourage this sweet family to honor the empty.