Sunday, January 16, 2011
Dancing in the Empty Space
It's a new year and time to clean out, I see clutter everywhere but right now I have been cleaning out kids clothes and toys in part to make room for the new Christmas stuff. We are also moving GaGa's belongings out of her independant living apartment to the nursing home, donating, and putting some in storage. Decluttering has been a relevant topic for me for a while but as GaGa is facing the very real end of her life it takes on more meaning about "the stuff." We go through the stuff and I immediately see everything that can be thrown out. Then I see the things that are important to her. She has been at my house when I am trying to get rid of MY junk and she has kept some of my stuff because she doesn't want to let it go. With her things she stops and asks, "Carolyn, do you want this?" and I who am getting rid of more and more stuff at my own house and am finally embracing simplicity, is struggling but saying no. It feels like I am rejecting her by saying no. So finally as we were going through more stuff, I told her, "When I say no I don't want something, it doesn't mean I don't love you" She shook her head in what I think was understanding yet...
I didn't finish the statement, and at some point I will because we have a good relationship and I am learning to speak up to those around me. What I will say is you are not the stuff. My memories are not going to be tied to having your things. Everything that I have learned and loved about you is in my heart and my mind.
This is so freaking powerful for many reasons.
It's not about the stuff. When I watch the shows about hoarding and see people holding on to their deceased loved ones' stuff, I think in part to avoid the pain of grieving or some other pain. I feel their pain in a small way and think about my own. I look at my own life to see where I can accept the pain and let go to make my own vision and become my own self. Humans and animals avoid pain at all costs. And it's the perception of pain as well.
There are things that I want to keep of course, pictures, documents but not Christmas towels that hang on hooks. he he he. I have been watching many episodes of "Clean House" and also Peter Walsh's new shown on OWN, "Enough Already". Recently, Peter said in regards to kids toys that over and over again when he has cleaned out a house, that each and every time, (here it comes...) the kids dance in the empty space.
It has happened in my own house. I have watched my own girls do that a few times and realize that it is the space we love, not the "stuff" that we buy to fill a void. And we love the people who are present with us and engage with us. Our children want us to engage with them.
And I love love love this idea of dancing. Of embracing and loving life to it's fullest extent. I'm going to brew on this a while.