“Get over it.”
Ugh. This seems a little outdated, amiright? Easier in a simpler time, when life didn’t have a continuous touchstone to the past, the present, the Insta—and all the people you met & loved along the way. And just in case you’re not over it, never fear! There’s an entire feed dedicated to that perfect trip, filtered with a rosy glow; throwing you headlong into #nostalgia and a memory of a time you’re certain is real, a time when you were living the Garden State soundtrack. I understand the need to do away with preciousness, to move on and quit taking things so seriously. But where some folks can build a bridge to forgive-and-forget, others need a demolition truck to level that shit to the ground. Whatever your means, I’d like to offer that sometimes it takes a hand, a little push, and a touch of grace… rather than a wrecking ball.
Let it go.
I wrote an article this spring on change, and the willingness to create open space in order to invite in new opportunities. Since then things have been happening at a rapid pace in terms of work, life, and apartment hunting. As my boyfriend and I get ready to move in and shack up, it marks a new beginning that feels 100% chosen and intentional. But with every move forward comes stark encounters with the past, so rather than packing I’ve barricaded myself inside an impenetrable fort-like structure of old photographs, letters and doodads. Going through this trove has made me run the gamut of emotion. I keep so much… sentiment? Emotional clutter? The truth is I’m not attached to the object itself, but the ideal I’ve associated with it, the time in my life it represents.
Being hidden in memories like that reminds me of a fond kitchen nook-session with a friend, a couple years ago. I was feeling invaded and frustrated with doctors at the time, and she likened it to someone breaking into your house (or your ‘mind palace’ if you’re catching my Sherlock-drift): “They find a secret room with a closed door. You don’t know how long it’s been there or where it even came from, but inside stuff is piled up to the ceiling. This stranger just goes ahead and opens that door, leaving you to wonder—who are you even, and how did you get into my house? Also WHAT IS ALL THIS STUFF??”
All this is telling me something about the state of my mind-palace.
Letting go is a constant challenge. It’s not something you complete, perfect, or do ‘right’… but instead gently acknowledge and show the door. In the passing of a loved one or family member, we have traditions and ceremonies to help us mourn and (hopefully) move on. But how does a girl living in Western society honour a hypothetical passing, in order to let it go? Other cultures have built in practices and ceremonies that mark major life transitions, so I’ve been looking for ways to fully own mine. In that vein, here are some tips n’ tricks I’ve had time to ruminate on while trying to keep my cat out of half-packed boxes of sheets and towels. A letting go/moving on checklist:
– Ask yourself what you’re unpacking. What will you keep for yourself to reinvent, and what will you give away? What are you choosing to move forward with, and what are you making room for?
– Realize the thoughts you hang onto are a choice. Same goes for letters & doodads. Notice the times you habitually return to them—say hey—and let them go.
– Create an action plan for moving forward. Set goals. Do it with your lady friends, dude friends, and a box of wine. Organize a clothing swap to get rid of all the old stuff and rejuvenate your cut-off collection for the summer.
-Turn grief into action, by marking endings with purpose. Whether that means a ceremony by a lake or a champagne celebration, make the moment count.
– Talk to someone that can hold and assist you in this. For me, it was my life coach. Sorry, you have to find your own yoda.
– Breathe, people. Or sweat it out with some Moksha yoga!! Way better than muggy Toronto-cyclist-smog-sweat.
– Celebrate! You don’t need to get a hard-sought position to justify feeling good. Beat the drum of what’s going right.
– Understand you can’t man-handle letting go into being. Sometimes you have to do it again and again before it sticks, but remember to send love and good intentions every time you try.
– Own up to your role in the past. It’s actually way easier to play the victim, but let’s make a pledge to do away with entitlement and self-victimization. Even if you’re hurt, it doesn’t serve you to identify in that way. Which leads to the most important of all:
– LOVE YO’SELF. Because you’re enough. You may not believe your parents, but you WILL believe these all-caps words, typed by a stranger.
So let’s celebrate our choices and new emergences, accept the parts of ourselves that are shaped by past experiences, and release the things that no longer play a role in the story we want to tell. Because you know what? We’re not broken by the past, but whole and healed by the present.
Let it go. Let it flow. It’s ok.