"That's all your house is. It's a place to keep your stuff while you go out there and get more stuff." - George Carlin
I gave away some of my stuff yesterday.
Specifically, I spent about an hour and a half spelunking in my closet (ie: digging through the monumental pile of clothing that cannot even get anywhere near, let alone into, my closet), looking for things to give to a friend who needs some clothes to make her life more comfortable for the next few months. This woman is bravely in the middle of an astounding journey of body recovery. Due to the rapidity of her weight loss since having a gastric bypass last spring, she is not any one size for more than a couple or a few weeks, so it makes no sense for her to be repeatedly buying and discarding new or even second hand clothes. Thus we went shopping in my closet, which as I have mentioned before, contains a full spectrum of garments in sizes from 14 to 24.
My friend is very intuitively astute and, when we had finished in the ladies apparel department, she looked me straight in the eyes and asked what she could now do for me. Once I paused from the scramble of activity, coughed up the dust and took a real breath, I realized that I was a bit of a mess emotionally. There was so much more than just an episode of closet-organization/clutter-management/home-reclamation happening here. This was bringing up a lot of baggage, and not the physical kind.
It's no surprise that I have a lot of sadness and pain tied up in my possessions and my clothes in particular. There's everything in here from body issues (when I will be that size again...) and self-esteem, to past vocational aspirations and missed opportunities attached to all the stuff I have hoarded over the years, which is precisely why it's taken me a long time to be able to let go of it.
So I did a walking meditation yesterday about all the stuff that is coming up about all my stuff. And I feel a lot of sadness and wistful longing which are welcome, as well as leftovers of old guilt and shame that need to be released. A lot of the feelings are still more in the nature of amorphous emotional residue that I am not yet ready to articulate. But the one most surprising thing that keeps coming back to me is that while I am upset, I am not really as upset as I thought I "should" be. This is not as hard as I expected it to be. In a nutshell, I am FINALLY really ready to let go of the false lingering hopes and stagnant unfulfilled dreams that all the extraneous stuff represents.
Those dreams and hopes are gone - though many of them have been reframed into new ones that are perhaps superficially identical but fundamentally healthier in motives. And I am not grieving the lost hopes - I see now that they were never real, but came from an unconscious place that wasn't my true self. However, I am mourning the lost years, the uncounted and unaccounted time which I spent less than truly conscious, and especially the vital passion wasted during those periods.
I do believe and honour the truth that those years weren't wasted. I am precisely where I am supposed to be in my life right now, in a perfect place from which to accept what was, be with what is, and move to what I want my life to be.
I'll have to continue the work in fits and starts, every few days a little more, another corner or section or a couple of bags full. It's rather too overwhelming to do everyday, and also I have the small matter of work coming up, so my days really need to be spent studying my music and preparing for upcoming rehearsals and auditions.
And as I proceed through the whirlwind I have chosen to embrace, I need to remember through all of this to give myself the time and the space and the TLC to reflect and heal, while gently and persistently continuing to purge the excesses, and feeling the associated emotions that rise up as all the accumulated things pass through my hands and my life one last time.