My commitment to writing a new post each week has gifted me with a beautiful surprise. As I go about my life, a part of me is now observing my experiences and thoughts about what is happening. My internal conversations are becoming richer, and I spend more time in deep reflection and awareness of wanting to create written content that matters to me and hopefully to you, the reader. I am introspective anyway, so I consider it my great good fortune to find myself encouraged by myself to be even more reflective. Nice circle!
We still have our place here in Corrales which we call home base. There’s the “big” house (this is a joke since it’s only 960 square feet. Do we call it big because it’s tall?) and a casita. We haven’t lived in either of our houses for three years. We’ve rented them out to underwrite our travels. I experience them as a mental and physical burden and an energy drain. When it comes to change, Stephen moves much slower in life than I, and, sometimes to my own detriment, I move at lightning speed and consider the consequences later! This post about letting go relates to selling our property and balance in our relationship.
“Never love something so much that you can’t let go of it.” Ginni Rometty
So on this sale of our home base, we’re moving at what I consider – a snail’s pace. I don’t want to drag Stephen kicking and screaming into my new dream (I’ve done this in the past). I’ve always had my eye on the future and getting to it as fast as I can. Not this time. As I’ve aged and matured the adventure of relationship has shifted my focus. Now I ask myself questions like how can I be more inclusive? How can Stephen’s well-being be just as important to me as mine? And, I’m finding it’s so much more fun to be on the same page and think about and plan for a new future together! Kind of like a childhood playmate that wants to play the same game you do.
It’s been very informative to process this change at his pace. I’m relishing (for lack of a better word), the grieving of the loss of one dream as I embrace the next. This is a new experience for me. I’m usually moving so fast I don’t have time for the organic steps of change!
Our ongoing letting go of the accumulation of stuff resulted in another garage sale yesterday. A couple of things happened as I went through the day visiting with old friends and strangers about the path we’ve chosen to take – that of the open road. First, I saw that what I’d started as my new dream is going to happen with time. I will actually get free of this property. Moving slowly makes me feel like I’m not going to get there at all and I sometimes despair that I’m wasting time. But, several people showed an interest in our home which is not yet on the market (We’ve rented both houses until October and one until February of next year.) Their interest was reassuring. We didn’t create our property with resale in mind. We created it to suit our needs and thought we’d stay until we died. That was how much we loved the dream of this home and creating a place of beauty that nurtured us and where we could express our creativity.
But for me, that dream came to an end, and a new one was born. This happens to me in life, and I’m sure it happens for most people. Probably the difference is I actually listen to these marching orders! When I was in my 30’s with a thriving decorating business and a completed three story Victorian remodel, both of those dreams died at the same time, and I was compelled to sell everything and move to Japan. Here is what I learned then and what I know will happen this time as well.
Letting go is a requirement of moving forward. The fact is that in this instance, I’m doing it with more consciousness. That makes the loss a lot more painful. As it should be. Much love and passion went into this dream. It is right to mark the passing of a dream and acknowledge what is being lost to honor all the energy we spent in its creation. I see now why I avoided that part of moving forward in the past when I embraced a new dream. It takes a lot of soul-searching to get through the feeling of loss as I go towards the new compelling aspiration. I was afraid those darker feelings meant ‘don’t act’ so I repressed them, and they came back to bite me after I had shifted into the new reality. This time I’m walking with those feelings and letting them speak.
It’s especially interesting to upend your life at 70 with hardly any safety net. A big motivator for some older people is safety and comfort. But then there are those, like me, who don’t want to die with un-lived dreams still inside them. To reach for the new, I have to let go of what is and create a void to fill. That’s the scary part – the void. I try very hard to make the unknown my friend.
As I read the various blogs of the young people I follow, I see them up against this same great dilemma – which road to follow. The safer predictable path (is it?) or the one that calls in ever more demanding ways.
Oddly, with the world, and our country particularly, in a kind of free fall, we can use this chaos to our benefit. Or, we can react with contraction from life in response to the fear the powers that be are continually feeding us. My question is since we’re going to be afraid anyway, why not live out this fear within the bolder experience?
“One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.” Michael Cibenko
So at our garage sale, people were telling me how much they admired me for my courage to let everything go that we had created and built. I wish I could find the perfect words that describe to them how good it feels to let go. Over and over I say, “you can’t imagine how freeing it is – or the lightness you can feel. I don’t want an anchor!” Sometimes I tell them my deeper truth, but I rarely have someone understand what I’m saying. Here it is. “My intention at my age is to practice letting go on a daily basis. I am letting go of physical stuff right now. I’m letting go of being in prime good health among many other parts of life that I’ve taken for granted in earlier years. I want to let go and let go until I’m so practiced at it that at my final letting go I will just ‘poof’ let go of it all.” As a hospice volunteer, I learned how hard it is for people to let go at the end and I consider this letting go my spiritual practice to that end.
I’m not sure I trust all will be well in a deep way, but do trust that both Stephen and I can weather adversity. We’ve always lived in close interaction with adversity and life has taught us we’re resilient.
This is a powerful thing to know about yourself. In fact, it’s a good recommendation for taking a chance! Your character is honed and developed through experience. If you don’t see yourself as resilient, go find a challenge that will instill it in you. If you’re afraid of adventure, go seek it out and require your best self to show up! Let go!