Walking on Fresh Grass
I am sitting in our garage surrounded by boxes filled with musty memories: trophies, love letters, precious but tired books, photo albums filled with smiling faces, and records of some broken dreams.
We are moving. Finally.
Boy do we have a lot of stuff. There is so much stuff in this world! We have been sorting for weeks now. There are three main piles:
Christian gets excited when one of the people he sees tells him that they’re moving.
Moving is a chance to sort through belongings which is also an opportunity to sort your personal emotions and thought life. You can sort through some things, and throw a few things out.
It’s easy to decide what functional stuff to throw. Toasters that don’t work any more, clothes that are too tight, tape recorders from another century. Decorative stuff is a bit difficult: like Christmas ornaments, which represent magic and joy.
Past stuff is harder. Much, much harder. The memories subsumed in my grandmother’s cooking bowl, a poem my son wrote me, a letter from a friend who has now passed on. They were all part of me. Letting go is like letting go a part of ourselves. It’s a wrenching. Still, Christian and I encourage each other: “throw it out if you can.”
I smile a lot. I cry a lot.
I usually live in the now, but sorting through the past has stirred up some dust. I can let go of objects as just their memory can still burn in my spirits and warm me on a cold night; they still, as Wordsworth says, “flash upon that inward eye.” I think back on our son holding his “blankey” with two fingers in his mouth or the bowls and bowls of tulips from Christian that once filled my New York apartment. (I have thrown out “blankey” and the dried out tulips, but not the memories.)
We had a moment of revelation: past stuff can contain memories, but what about the baggage? Baggage is the heavy stuff that weighs you down. It sometimes hurts you; it suffocates your relationships. It can be extremely difficult to see it’s there let alone sort it.
It comes in all shapes, sizes and objects. Baggage from past relationships is often the elephant in the room or hidden in your “black bag” that has a lock on it that only you can open.
Perhaps you need to open it together someday.
The biggest, but often most liberating step, is throwing out the hurtful baggage. Only you can decide if that is right for you.
We grasp baggage so tightly sometimes that we don’t see the bruises on our own hands.
I picked up another old photograph. It immediately flooded my brain with bittersweet memories. It beckoned me into the past. But it was time to let it go.
I sighed, dropped it into the throw out pile, and stepped back home into my glorious now.
Welcome to our blog. Each blog contains a little story of our journey and an insight drawn from Christian's 18 years of clinical experience as a psychiatrist. The central ideas are in bold. We post every fortnight and would love to hear your comments. Looking forward to travelling with you in this amazing journey called life.