“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” C. JoyBell C
This is one of my favorite quotes lately. The first time I read this quote, it was on a minimalist site, so I interpreted it in terms of the process of release that comes with purging ‘stuff’. The quote is actually about practicing forgiveness. Those two can be very tightly linked. We often need to forgive ourselves or someone else while we let go of our heavy “things.”
We have all kept some “thing” in our life even though it weighs us down. Those things range from thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, emotions, people, places, all the way to our stuff. Yet, most often when we talk about letting go, or purging, we tend to only address the “stuff”. Those tangible items cluttering up our physical spaces.
But what about the other things weighing us down? What about our out-dated thoughts? Hand me down beliefs? Our habits and behaviors? Our emotions? Keeping any of those heavy things that no longer serve to do anything more than weigh us down is a waste of energy.
Energy that would be better spent in so many other freeing ways.
Today, I purged some of those heavy things. They looked outwardly like seasonal stuff and clutter. But tied up in those holiday knick knacks and brick-a-brac were some pretty strong emotions. Those emotions weighed me down more than the boxes weighed down the shelves upon which they were stored. Not all of the emotions were negative either. For example, in the boxes I sorted today were many representatives of “firsts.” First high school graduation, first college graduation, first house. And there was forgiveness. Forgiveness to myself that I was parting with these things that no longer brought me joy and even forgiveness to others for any number of situations.
In the purge pile were collections, as well. Baubles that were once a pleasantry but became an obligation. An example of this was a collection of 3” ceramic Crinkle Claus figurines. I began collecting them in 1996. I still remember seeing my very first one on the shelf in the store as I passed by. If I pause for just a moment, I can almost smell the candles from the shop, feel the chill in the air. But, that one piece turned into an annual collection. A new Crinkle every year. And when they stopped making them, the collection became hours on eBay trying to find the perfect next one. Putting them up and taking them down was a chore. Clearing the every day items from the curio cabinet, cleaning the cabinet, wrapping and unwrapping the figurines, positioning them just so … it could be an ordeal at times. The fun from that first purchase was gone, lost in the effort to display something that had no meaning to anyone in my family except me. That collection? Became heavy. I parted with all but the first one.
We can do that, you know? Keep only the ones that bring us joy. It is our choice.
Bring us joy. Isn’t that what this season is about? The ‘holiday season’? Yet, it seems that this is the season that seems to weigh us down all by itself, before we even consider all the other everyday kind of weights and heaviness. This season, from fall into the new year has the ability to weigh even the most joyous of us down.
This season is so heavy that I can hear the weight. I see it in the feeds of my social media, in the memes and gifs that are posted and reposted. I hear it when speaking with friends. I hear the weight as questions, though they aren’t always presented as such. Digging through the noise and the clutter, I hear the weight in questions such as these:
Am I gifting enough?
Am I generous enough?
Did I attend enough events, tend the right relationships, visit enough family?
Am I …. enough?
The competition to keep up with The Joneses kicks into high gear this time of year. Earlier and earlier each year. We feel like The Grinch if we aren’t consuming and shopping and wrapping and baking and hosting and and and ….
This is also the season when we tend to neglect ourselves. Our mental condition, our physical health. We don’t make room for ourselves because we are too busy loading up with the weight of other obligations.
Some also have people who add to the weight. Use words, emotions, baggage, history against us. Guilt. Obligations. Debt. They try to give us their heavy things or tie us into their drama. They entice our children with pretty baubles, loud advertisements, special events against our wishes.
Or maybe we think we have no one. Maybe our heavy thing is loneliness.
Let them go. All of them.
Make yourself a priority. Make time for you, your health – mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. Nurture yourself. When you are nurtured, you are able to choose – wisely – which things belong to and with you. Which things you can hold without them weighing you.
This is your permission slip. Put down your heavy things. Pick yourself up.
Put yourself first.
Let go the heavy things.