The less I needed, the better I felt. • Charles Bukowski
Well, here I go again. Almost, six months ago, I sold everything I owned, and moved to Mexico. Well, almost everything. I still had SIX suitcases, which is a lot to carry if you want to be free.
But, you know what? I wasn’t quite ready to let go of everything yet. I did pretty good at downsizing from a three-bedroom house to this, but it was still a heavy load. But, now, I’m finally ready. I’m ready to exchange my stuff for adventure, freedom, and lightness. If you are learning how to be a nomad, one of the main things you will learn is you need to travel light. So, now I’m down to this.
Now, I’m down to three suitcases (the small ones), and two of these are going to stay at my parent’s house while I journey without them. But this is IT! Everything that I own.
Realizing how much baggage I’ve gotten rid of made me think of a quote I saw a while back:
Now, when I first saw this, I thought “awww….isn’t that sweet.” And I even shared it on my Facebook wall. But, now I realize that this is the worst piece of advice EVER!
You see, what I’ve come to realize is that no one can unpack your crap for you. Trust me, no one is going to want you showing up for the journey, a pile of stuff at your feet, and you expecting THEM to carry it for you and then unpack it for you, too. No, you’ve got to do the hard work yourself. You see, they’ve got their own junk to deal with. When you land in that hotel room together, you’ve both got to make your stuff fit in the closet, and on the bathroom counter, so ,trust me, it’s just a lot better if you don’t show up with a lot of stuff to unpack in the first place.
Letting go of my physical stuff has also let me reflect on just how much emotional baggage that I’ve gotten rid of since being here, too. Sitting on a rooftop and watching the world go by day after day has had me realize that some of the stuff I was carrying around was no longer me anymore.
They were just stories. Things that happened to me in the past. Stories that no longer served me. All of the cells in my body have changed since these stories happened to me. I am no longer the same person even physically, and yet here I was, still carrying all these stories inside. And so I began, letting them go.
The first story I let go, is that I had to have a nine-to-five job, so I could afford a big house and lots of pretty things to put in that house, so I would have to keep working to pay for the pretty things and to keep the CEO’s at the big American companies making lots of money. Letting go of that story, that was the best thing I’ve ever done.
And I let go of so much more. And, you know what? I did it all by myself. I didn’t ask for someone else to come hear my sob stories, the reasons why I was acting a certain way, or to come do the work that only I could do.
No, much like I just gave away half the things I owned, I thanked each thing that shaped me in my life for being there. Yes, I even thanked the things I didn’t like. Because I realized, they all made me who I am. And they are all part of life. This gorgeous life with all its tattered pieces. At one time, they all fit. I honored those stories, and then I gave them back to life.
I am glad that I didn’t expect anyone to do it for me because I’ve been able to look at my things one my one and ask, “Is this really me anymore?”
And yes, I know I still have stuff to let go of. And I will, in time, when I’m ready.
So, you want to know about letting go and how to do it. For physical stuff, that’s easier than you think. Just get rid of it. Your attachments to your “things” will fade.
Letting go of your emotional stuff? You can do that, too. You will have to ask yourself some hard questions. You will have to take the time to get to know yourself and find out who you really are. (Isn’t it interesting that we will take all the time in the world to get to know someone we have a crush on, but we don’t want to take the time to really know ourselves?!)
When you get to know yourself, you will finally realize that most of the things that you think you know about yourself are just stories. Really, all you are is just this present moment. Isn’t it time to start living your own life?
So, are you going to keep living with fear or regret because of things that happened in the past? Or, are you going to open your heart and welcome in this moment with all of its glory? Are you going to keep seeing the world with a veil of judgment and hesitation? Or are you going to allow in this moment exactly how it is and see it for how it chooses to show up?
Letting go isn’t easy. But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. And as far as all this other advice, you know, about Date Someone Who Travels, Don’t Date Someone Who Travels, Date Your Dog, Date A Girl Who Eats, whatever. How about this, instead? Stop looking for someone to hold onto. Choose the one you can let go with.
She Let Go
Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear.
She let go of judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She just let go.
She let go of all the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore. -Rev. Safire Rose