I’m watching the leaves fall today. Is it the act of letting go or being released? Each burst of wind brings an ephemeral dance, with the leaves, trees, air and other unseen elements at play.
I’ve been cleaning out lately. Deciding what is essential. Understanding why I hold onto things. Objects tied to happy memories, significant events or validations of who I am.
It’s time to start again, to let go of the past in all of its beauty and tragedy. Knowing we don’t “let go” of the past as it morphs each of us into the person we are today and the person we will evermore continue to become or reveal. But we can try to let go of the ghosts that steal our today by trapping us in yesterday.
I found the papers from graduate school that made me feel intelligent. It was a good reminder of all that I am capable of learning and thinking and doing and being. It’s also a trap. It’s a reminder of people pleasing and competition and validation. I put some of them into the fire pit and then felt a sense of loss as my daughter asked, “Isn’t it sad to lose all of those memories?” But those are papers. The memories are with me and even if I forget them one day, those experiences changed me in ways that will change her and everything I do for the rest of my time here. So I can let them go now.
As I burned the rest of the stack of papers, I felt joy as I watched the edges brown and curl around the red marks written in the margins. Criticisms, comments and corrections all meant to be helpful. I don’t need them anymore. I’m no longer living for approval or validation.
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
I say this quote at least once a day. Some days it’s easier than others, but it is always true.
Btw…I did keep some papers because they are good reads!