There is so much freedom in releasing all the burdens we don't need to carry anymore. (Image Credit: UnSplash/Aral Tasher)
The country is kind of obsessed with KonMari. I get it. Truly, I do. I love shedding unnecessary objects, cleaning out the clutter, and I have a huge pile of garage sale items just waiting to be sold on the first dry and sunny weekend this summer.
But the truth is, I am in love with the letting go.
It hasn't always been this way for me. I grew up in a family that often moved based on my dad's job or our financial situation. We grew up with a functional, comfortable home, but we rarely bought anything new. Most of our possessions came from generous friends as hand-me-downs. We never had a large house, and if it didn't fit on the moving truck and was expendable, we would send the unnecessary goods on to a family who needed them more than we did.
In a word, we were mostly poor. We ate the cheap cuts of meat and used powdered milk to make the gallon of real milk stretch. And we often bought that food with food stamps.
I'm not sad about it. Not at all. If anything, I'm proud of how hard my father worked to keep us afloat. It wasn't unusual for him to have three jobs during particularly rough times, and nothing was beneath him, even though he was highly educated. He is long retired now, but is still the hardest working person I know.
But falling in love with letting go changed me. It gave me the gift of gratitude for the transient, ever changing world we are required to be a part of. It opened my heart and hands to what is on the other side of release.
Later on in life, remaining mostly unattached to material possessions allowed me to sell all my belongings and pursue my European dreams of backpacking, doing medical work in Africa and South America, and living contentedly with very little while I explored the world and accomplished lifelong goals in my 20's. I also tapped into my father's work ethic and squeezed a lot of living into a decade.
And when I was living in Mexico and the rest of my (meager) worldly possessions were stolen, I wasn't sad for long. Because it was always just stuff. It wasn't my life. My life was so full of purpose and adventure and joy that lost material possessions didn't have a devastating impact. It was a bummer. Full stop.
My ability to let go of things also bled into other areas of my life. Toxic relationships, jobs that were bad fits, debts that were never repaid — these didn't keep me stuck for long. Later on, when I chose to begin doing therapy for my own wellbeing and to examine my own cycles of dysfunction, I realized that I could let go of so much more than I knew I was capable of, and even more that I didn't know I was carrying.
The physical lesson transcended to the personal, etherial, emotional fiber of my being. It's not that letting go became effortless. It's a lot of work to release shit that has been with us for decades, shit that is deeply ingrained into the very cells of our bodies.
But I fell in love with the process of letting it go.
I fell in love with allowing the weight of personal revelations to hit me like a ton of bricks.
I fell in love with the sadness and regret.
I fell in love with the anger of injustice and abuse.
I fell in love with the process of making amends.
I fell in love with forgiveness, both for my self and others.
I fell in love with open endings and the inability to make all the frayed and fractured places completely whole.
I fell in love with accepting my doubts, my questions, and just letting them be, even if it meant releasing the comfort of conclusion.
I fell in love with no longer trying to force a person or situation to be what I think it should be.
I fell in love with the messiness of letting things go. And I dove full into the process, knowing it would hurt, knowing I would lose some parts of myself and discover new ones that I like and loathe even more than the old.
The letting go... It's not a perfect process. In fact, it looks different for every situation. It takes as long as it takes, and nothing happens overnight. But falling in love with letting go changed me. It gave me the gift of gratitude for the transient, ever changing world we are required to be a part of. It opened my heart and hands to what is on the other side of release.
What's not to love about that?