|Photo: Allie Brosh*|
I've had 5 dogs in the last 25 years or so, most of them at the same time, and they had a lot of stuff. For some reason, I couldn't make myself let go of it. And a few days ago, it was like a revelation: I don't need to keep that stuff anymore. I wish that thought had occurred to me two moves ago, but better late than never.
I get why there are certain things I hang on to. Scarcity has been a real thing and a big thing. Anything lost wasn't easily (or ever) replaced. That's part of it, but no longer relevant. The other bit is emotional: "But that belonged to________! How can I get rid of that?" But the truth is, I was there for the good parts, I got to spend time with my critters, and they'll never be forgotten. The rest is just stuff. Sure, keep a little something. But I don't have to keep ALL of it! So I gathered it up and donated it to somebody with a rescue who could make real use of it, and where it could do some good for some living critters. I feel lighter!
It has often been a challenge for me to let go that way. I've experienced a lot of loss, and I suppose it was my way of hanging on in the only way I knew how. But the longer I live, the less I need that stuff, and the more confident I feel in the depths of those connections and the memories of those real and awesome experiences. Keeping 'stuff' is a little like building a monument to pain; a focus on loss and what's missing instead of the bigger, more important parts.
Pain is part of life; EVERYBODY'S life. It's certainly been a part of mine. But what do I want to do with it? Do I want to make it the central pillar that I construct the rest of my life around? F*** no! I want to acknowledge it, experience it, and move through it, knowing there is something on the other side. I want to learn what I need to from it, and then heal. I recently watched "Nanette" by Hannah Gadsby (Highly recommend! Very Powerful!) and there was one line that she said that really stood out to me: "There is nothing stronger than a broken woman who has rebuilt herself" And boy, she isn't kidding! But that means you don't stay broken! And I'm NOT a broken woman anymore, and haven't been for a looooong time. Not everybody seems to have gotten that memo.
Okay, so this took a turn as it often does. I guess that's what my blog is for :-) But full disclosure: Parts of my life really hurt right now. There's nothing I can do about it. I'm having to be very 'Serenity Prayer' about some things, and it's hard. I know I can always resort to what my shrink calls "the Nuclear Option"(publicly publishing the truth of an ugly situation I'm involved in), but it isn't who I am. I would certainly be vindicated, but at what cost? Ergo, accepting the things I can't change, and trusting life to sort it out. It always has, so I have to have faith in that.
So like my purging of all the dog stuff that I don't need, I'm purging the unhelpful emotional weight that I've been carrying around. I don't need it. Letting go doesn't change time or experiences, or negate anything good or valuable. It just allows to me to focus forward on things that are positive, loving, nurturing and healing. Sometimes that's all we can can do.
*This photo came from one of my favorite blogs! It can be found here: Hyperbole and a Half: Boyfriend Doesn't Have Ebola. Probably