For as long as I can remember, I have not enjoyed goodbyes. I’ve sometimes tried to make them easier by saying, “See you later” instead, but there are times that this is just not true. There are some people and places that I will never see again.
In a past apartment, I had a favorite tree. Seeing it as I drove out to the main road on my daily commute, I was reminded of my own power, and ability to change with the seasons. The trunk was strong, and constant. The branches reaching for more and feeding the beautiful leaves, leaves with the courage to change when the season invited them. To my tree, I say, Thank you for the strength and the wisdom you remind me I have in myself.
A daily reminder of my inner strength and wisdom
At the end of this month, I’m moving again. As I prepare for this move, I am purging extra things. There are some things I’m not yet ready to let go of, and others I am.
There is a balance somewhere between getting rid of everything and letting go of what I no longer need. How deliciously freeing would it be to unload the parts of me that at one point may have served me, but now no longer do? And how precious would it be to lovingly carry the things that bring me life and love and connection with me where I go, a celebration of what I’ve done, where I’ve been, and what I’ve created?
What will I carry with me as I make this next move? What is it that I really love and want around me in my new chapter, my new season?
Going through a stack of papers from my master’s degree, I made three piles: articles I loved, articles I thought were good/maybe useful, and articles I no longer needed. I ended up tossing two of the three piles – even though something in all those papers I tossed might be useful in the future, that doesn’t mean I needed to keep it, pay to ship it cross-country, and find a space to keep it. How freeing it was to only keep what I love!
Projects from further back at first seemed more difficult, as if time had added weight of its own to already heavy boxes. Right out of college I worked with a nonprofit for almost three years, designing curriculum and coordinating the program. This was where I grew up, got my training chops, and experienced a divine amount of creativity. I have carried this box with me for eight years. A week ago I ventured into that box, with the intent of just looking at it. What a delight to see how much effort I’d put into that part of my life; truly a treasure! And gut-wrenching too, so much so that when I decided I could let go of some of it, I did it in two shifts. I allowed myself that time to process, digest, and come into a new way of holding this memory of my life. I needed that tenderness. The items from that box that really called to my heart make up one binder. And to the rest, I say “goodbye” and “thank you, thank you, thank you.”
In this process of packing, rife with logistical and emotional challenges, I am finding three opportunities: (1) to say goodbye to the things I no longer need with gratitude, (2) to honor my resistance to letting something go (3) to consciously celebrate all that I have learned and accomplished.
Perhaps I’m getting better at goodbyes, after all.
MAKE IT REAL: What do you carry with you? If you were to move right now, what would you be willing to get rid of, and what do you really cherish? How are you with saying goodbye to things, people and places?