When I moved from Los Angeles County to Minneapolis, all of my belongings fit into one car.
So I’m amazed that 14 years later, I’ve been able to fill dozens of boxes with items that aren’t serving me any longer and get them to better homes. I’m fascinated that there is still so much more to clear in my home.
My friend, Mary, is a professional organizer who has also recently downsized her belongings. She has gone through round after round of releasing things that weren’t serving her to the full capacity and moved into a beautiful tiny house.
And even after living in her tiny house for four weeks, she’s decided to let go of some more precious items in her life; the most recent purge left her shedding not only her possessions, but several tears, as well.
Her belongings are fairly minimal now — even before this last round of letting go — so if she was struggling to the point of crying, I wondered why was she forcing herself to get rid of even more?
“Because I know deep down the items don’t really matter,” she said. “It’s all about the emotion.”
The items in our lives carry with them underlying emotions and symbolism. There’s desire. The pursuit. The acquisition. Joy. Security. Beauty. Fulfillment. Memories.
And finally, the release (if we outlive the item) and mourning.
Every item carries within itself a story and fulfills some need. And most of us get swept up in it.
Mary has helped people through this process for years.
The common denominator for everyone she’s worked with is a feeling of overwhelm.
No doubt, we can all identify with that. Whether we feel overwhelmed from too many things or overwhelmed by people, situations, jobs, memories, stories, roles or labels, we deal with a lot in our external reality, much of which isn’t serving us.
And even though we’re overwhelmed, it’s difficult to let go.
Fear is the main aspect that keeps us stuck. Whether it’s fear of letting go of an item that we think we’ll need again someday or fear of letting go of our bottled-up emotions, the fear holds us at status quo — even if the status quo is not ideal.
According to the Buddhist tradition, the idea of attachment keeps us in the illusion that we are separate and need external things to make us happy and fulfilled. Much of our lives are spent in the pursuit of this external happiness.
On the opposite side of attachment is unity.
When we are unified with the whole universe, the idea of attaching to something seems ridiculous because nothing is outside of ourselves.
When we are able to let go of whatever isn’t serving us, we find it can be extremely liberating. Letting go helps us move forward in our lives, less encumbered with renewed energy that enables us to attract what it is we really want. It gives us more room to breathe.
This is one of the main outcomes of many holistic healing modalities that allow us to release what isn’t serving us so that we can move forward lighter and freer and step into the most wonderful life imaginable. It’s one of the quickest and most thorough purging processes available to us. By letting the ego and all the fear it carries with it take a backseat, we are able to sink into a depth where it is easy to connect and unify with the whole universe.
And we can connect to the unity and happiness that is our birthright.
And we can get swept up in that beauty.