And It's Not Just About Stuff

Yesterday's post about compulsive hoarding brought up a lot of insights for me. And one thing, among others, that I recognized was that we also hang on to ideas, thoughts and feelings long past their usefulness, and probably for a lot of the same reasons.

Letting go of cherished beliefs can be just as terrifying as getting rid of objects. We hang on to them for reasons that once held up in the light of day don't really make as much sense as we thought they did.

Emotions too... hard to release, and sometimes the very attempting of it only strengthens the attachment.

I had found over the years, as I've gotten better at trusting life and my own resourcefulness to be able to let things go more easily, that certain other things had to be revisited a number of times before I could release them. I could imagine it in my mind, how much freer I would feel when I got rid of that thing, but then laying my hands on it again, I would find that i just couldn't do it, yet.

I've had to learn patience, and practice loving-kindness with myself, and address what it is I'm really worried about being without.

Feelings too. Letting go of anger, for example, has been a real challenge. Even when I truly believed that I wanted to. In some cases, it just made me feel too powerless. In another, it felt like the last connection I had with someone I had lost. But as in the case with stuff, and clutter, hanging on to an old emotion made no room for something more beautiful and bright to come in. Or even just empty space.

But it takes time.

I'm thinking of today, and all the people who adamantly believe we should never forget what happened eight years ago. What are we holding on to here? What are we afraid of will happen if release our feelings of anger and grief? That we will appear weak? That we'll feel vulnerable? That we'll dishonor the memory of all the souls lost and the lives shattered? What can be retained from that day that can truly serve us in a life-affirming way?

And can we ever let go of the rest?

Maybe it, too, just takes time.