Since the movie "Frozen" melted our hearts, little girls have been dressing up like Queen Elsa and singing full-throated versions of its theme song, "Let It Go." It can be very freeing to let go of things. Sometimes we even have to let go of toxic people who pull us down and seek to inhibit our progress.
A dam can be an archeological wonder or a beaver's busy pastime. It can both keep in and keep out. It can withhold water or blessings from flowing on. It can also be built to release a controlled flow of water and blessings to be utilized elsewhere, as needed. Like Kenny Roger's song about the gambler, "the secret to survivin' is knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep." In other words, it's a critical judgment call to dam up or to open the flood gates.
We were recently invited to help someone let go of a lifetime of accumulation of pretty much everything, without letting go of precious memories. I suggested photographing things as a reminder of the object without having it rob space. Our different perspectives provided challenges to see things from both sides of attachment and detachment. That was often influenced by the history of the original ownership of the objects, such as "Grandma treasured that." We want to keep thoughts and things we treasure while having the courage to let go of what clutters our lives and homes with distractions from well-spent time. It has been said that we store things in two places – the physical location and in our minds. As much as possible, we are well-advised to limit storing meaningless things in the worry section of our mental "flash drives." A lot can be said about the advantage of simplifying our surroundings but it would take cluttering the page with too many words to extol simplification!
Traveling through forested lands in autumn that experience weather changes can produce majestic fall colors where once green or leafless foliage rotates with the seasons. Changes can be exhilarating and spur us on to want to move forward and bring brighter colors of energy and accomplishment into our lives.
Aging provides one of the most obvious changes and forces us to let go of some things that we tenaciously grasp to hang on to. Having to let go of smooth, supple skin, boundless energy and flexibility, aging muscles, teeth and hair and even old friends who precede us in death are some of the inevitable changes that eventually come. The rewards of being blessed to be alive into old age can be untold wisdom and an accumulation of a repository of life's lessons, happy memories and priceless people. However, sometimes being set in our ways makes exploring new challenges both difficult and even frightening.
Still, at any age, letting go can bring into life new adventures and friends. Creating space in our homes, hearts and minds can open flood gates of opportunities that may have been previously stifled by having so much on our plates that there's no room for desserts or crowning opportunities for growth. Keeping what matters most can be freeing and give more prominence to priorities. Limit hoarding to enriching, uplifting things and people that provide joy, growth and beauty. This can give way to experiencing more space in your home and heart. Mother Teresa is credited with saying, "The more you have, the more occupied you are. The less you have, the more free you are." Or to say it another way, "The more things you own, the more they own you." Postponed decisions can propagate paper piles. Life is full and fabulous when we are not choked with too many things that dam up our ability to fully enjoy life, "lie down in green pastures," restore and enrich our souls and scatter sunshine and joy. A crowded life can limit time that could be used to buckle down and empty a bucket list.
What's up? You'll never know if you're buried under and burdened by too much chaos, clutter and caution. By letting it go we can enjoy the best and, as George Eliot penned, "with a breath of kindness blow away the rest." – Nani's Notes