Recycling the Past

The recycling bin is filling up quickly at my house. In fact, this weekend it was overflowing with my throw-aways, as I keep sorting and shifting things around in preparation for my move at the end of the month. This weekend, I tackled the keepsakes. We all have those boxes full of memorabilia from our lives. I sorted through endless postcards from places I’d travelled, pamphlets from I’d say just about every pavillion at Expo ’86, ticket stubs from long forgotten concerts, and matchbooks, oh the matchbooks, why the matchbooks? To listen to an audio version of this blog click here

What was most revealing were the piles and piles of cards and letters from old flames (could not resist this pun), friends and family over the years. Oh yeah, I saved them all. As I sat crossed-legged on my bed with these boxes surrounding me I began to open each card and read them word by word. Soon, I began simply opening them to see who it was from, because as I began this process I realized I’d better be brutal and throw out most of them. I choose to keep ones from my Mum and Dad and handmade ones from my nieces and nephews. I even found one I had made for my Mum a very long time ago. I found beautiful boxes to keep them in (see photo). I knew then I was on the right track and letting go of these reminders of my life was a good thing to do.

As I opened each card, it was comforting to know I was so loved and had a lot of friends during my lifetime.  There were cards from people that evoked strong emotions and tears began flowing, like the special cards from my Aunts who were such an instrumental part of my childhood years. What came to mind immediately was not only the love I had for them, but the yummy lemonade and cookies after a refreshing swim off their dock. Those were carefree, happy times of my youth, and so nice to spend a few minutes reminiscing. Then there were cards from people I honestly can’t recall. Who were these people? Obviously at the time, very much a part of my life since they gave me a card but who Jennifer is, I have no clue today. We seemed to be great pals but that memory has faded as has the ink of her signature.

As I began selecting which treasures to trash and which to cherish I began to feel a huge sigh of relief. Letting go of the past was making way for new beginnings and new memories to be made and cherished. I began to feel like I was being given a gift. The chance to take a sentimental journey – an opportunity to express long forgotten emotions both good and bad. There are many a time I’ve thought about sorting through these momento’s of my life before this, but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I suppose I was afraid I would forget and in forgetting, forget who I was and where I came from. Not this time. I’ve grown and matured this year since working with the mentors of The Broke Wives Club. I’ve been busy shifting my energy from what once was, to what will be.

This weekend I not only let go of momento’s but I also released a fair amount of unnecessary baggage. Baggage that has been wearing on my self-respect. I’ve let go of the desperate need I once had of keeping up with the Joneses, of wearing the designers labels, of being seen at the hottest spots and not letting people see my authentic self for fear they may reject me and I’d spend an eternity alone. It’s freeing to say the least. As my coach and organizing expert, Patricia Diesel, said today during our coaching session, – “I’ve freed myself to move not only literally but spiritually as well”. To let go and let God as my Mum always said. I realize now what she meant. It’s like the great song by Bob Marley, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.** Be happy for all that you have.  Embrace change, embrace opportunity and embrace the events that have occurred in your life as lessons that have brought to this point in your life.  Stop recycling your past and store the memories that make you smile, fill you with love and move on from the rest and make room for your destiny. It will reveal itself all in good time. Don’t worry, be who you were born to be.

** After writing this I was told this song was by Bobby Ferrin not Bob Marley…I could have sworn it was a Bob Marley song…so the moral of this story – don’t worry, be happy,  but don’t believe everything you think you know. Chill for a few and enjoy it.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bryan Waters on May 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Your “letting go” really speaks to me. It sent me to this insight from Howard Thurman.

    I must let go.
    For so long I have held to the habit of holding on.
    Even my muscles
    Are tense; deeply fearful are they
    Of relaxing lest they fall away from their place.
    I cling clutchingly to my friends
    Lest I lose them.
    I live under the shadow of being supplanted by another.
    I cling to my money, not so much
    By a wise economy and a thoughtful spending
    But by a sense of possession that makes me depend upon it for strength.
    I must let go –
    Deep at the core of me
    I must have a sense of freedom –
    A sure awareness of detachment – of relaxation.
    I must let go of everything.
    I must let go of pride. But –
    What am I saying? Is there not a sense of pride
    That supports and sustains all achievement,
    Even the essential dignity of my own personality?
    It may be that I must let go
    My dependence upon triumphing over my fellows, which seems
    To give me a sense of security in their midst.
    I cringe from my pain; I do not relish
    The struggle of life but I do not want to let go
    Because the hurt and the tension of contest feed
    The springs of my pride. They make me deeply aware.
    But I must let go of everything.
    I must let go of everything but God.
    But God – May it not be
    That God is in all the things to which I cling?
    That may be the hidden reason for my clinging.
    It is all very puzzling indeed. When I say
    “I must let go of everything but God”
    What is my meaning?
    I must relax my hold on everything that dulls my sense of Him,
    That comes between me and the inner awareness of His Presence
    Pervading my life and glorifying
    All the common ways with wonderful wonder.
    “Teach me, O God, how to free myself of dearest possessions,
    So that in my trust I shall find restored to me
    All I need to walk in Thy path and to fulfill Thy will.
    Let me know Thee for myself that I may not be satisfied
    With aught that is less.”
    –by Howard Thurman


  2. Posted by William Baranowski on May 4, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    This is truly beautiful writing. Thank you. I only wish I could write something clever about what you wrote, but, I’ll just encourage you to write lots more, instead.


  3. Posted by Hedley on May 4, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I think I’ll have to include excerpts from these thoughts in my book! That is a tremendous bit of writing…just one thing…I for one…am happy…very happy…that you are my sister…


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