Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Letting Go...

Every year Spring does eventually arrive. And, at the risk of sounding a bit cliché, it really does (for me) provide reminders of rebirth, renewal, and regeneration. To me, Spring feels similar to the way Friday afternoon feels every week. On Friday afternoon I always feel a bit of excitement at having a whole weekend before me. I think about all the things I could do, should do, and want to do.—Spring is a bigger dose of this kind of creative potential. I think about having five to six months of gentle weather, singing birds, and freedom to travel about more easily. I also always think about all the things I can do differently in this time of rebirth.

This year I’m using Spring to clean closets one day a week with a dear friend who is really good at letting go of things; she’s far better at it than I am. She balances out my pack-rat tendencies and reminds me that, if I haven’t used something in a while, letting it go back into circulation to serve others is a wiser decision. She repeatedly and gently asks “When did you last use this and do you really need it anymore?”

On Saturday my husband and I took a truck load of stuff to a second hand store and letting go of it all felt good! It made me ready to do more! Admittedly, the process of sorting and deciding what stays and what goes is a challenge. But having some empty spaces in my closets feels like fresh air filling my lungs! And, of course, this makes me consider the symbolism in all of this and how this would feel on a more internal level.

If having empty spaces in my house is refreshing, how much more refreshed will I feel as I continue the process and let go of all of my internal build up? As I analyze my fears, my sadness, my wounds that I’ve kept in the closets and shelves of my heart, I now ask myself the same questions. “How does this serve me and do I really need it anymore?” Using this time to review, forgive, and release seems like another level of freedom that I can give to myself.

Boxing things in closets or barricading them in our hearts and minds does the same thing. It adds up to overload and exhaustion. We were never meant to carry millions of pounds of excess stuff in our lives or in our hearts. Clean closets and hearts that have forgiven open the way for fresh air, renewed hope, and creative potential. Letting go of stuff, whether it’s internal or external is like renewing our focus, rebirthing our environment and rejuvenating our outlook. What a great way to welcome Spring!

I hope you consider doing some letting go of your own stuff, both internal and external and see how good you feel!!



Sunday, May 24, 2009

Your Story - A Wand or a Weapon

I’ve been thinking a lot about my personal story. You know “the one”. Your story is comprised of the memories you pull up when someone says “So, tell me about yourself.” Or, your story becomes the memories you retrieve when people begin swapping stories. These are the memories that define you.

I’ve also caught myself retelling/reliving stories and memories from the past in casual conversation. As I’m doing it I’m asking myself “How is retelling this helpful to anyone?” Is it even relevant to the person you are today? Do you want to be associated with these stories anymore?

It occurred to me that my list of stories about surviving health challenges, disability issues, employment concerns, divorce---are both my badge of courage and my liability! Yes, I’m stronger internally because of surviving these things. I’ve gained a broader perspective because of my experiences—all of my experiences—the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. But I’m at a point where retelling them as casual conversation is feeling limiting. Does that make sense?I/we are so much more than our stories and memories. We’re works of art that are forever works in progress! For me, retelling my stuff, is like removing 5 layers of a beautifully crafted, genius-inspired, multi-layered painting and going back to the original sketch over and over. In pondering this and trying to decide if my stories were my wand or my weapon I thought to myself, “all of the broccoli you’ve eaten over the years has made you stronger too but you don’t relive that in conversations! What good comes from the retelling?”

This is when I realized my stories were not my wand. I wasn’t using them to create something dynamic and important. I wasn’t retelling them to build rapport with someone in the same boat. I wasn’t fearlessly facing them to make lasting peace treaties within my mind and heart. I was just playing a tape that was old and tired and had no purpose for anyone. Without realizing it, my stories were becoming unintentional weapons that repelled the very creativity I wanted to nurture in my own life! They were becoming liabilities!

I suddenly became grateful for this flash of insight. Retelling our stories may be absolutely right and eloquent when trying to build rapport with another wounded soul. Reliving the past can be a courageous step toward inner peace if that is the goal. When it’s retold with intent to heal it can be powerful. But when it’s part of idle conversation, or mindless complaining, or just a habitual reaction, it limits me. It stifles my inspirational insights. It slams the door on creativity. It ties me to what was and blocks the millions of paths leading to what could be.

Lets all consider what we could create when we consciously use our words as our wands of creativity!! Florence Scovel Shinn wrote the book YOUR WORD AS YOUR WAND in the 1920’s or 1930’s. She knew 80 years ago what we all need to remember today!!

Enjoy your creations!