I am sure you are wondering what toy cars and trucks have to do with anything. Well, after a year of change and loss, I have decided to embrace changes and to set new, crazy, stupid goals for myself. Heck, if I survived 2015, I can certainly harness that same strength and energy to do something I plan to do to achieve a few goals I set for myself.
January 2015 began with my son making a decision to graduate from high school early in order to enroll in college in what would have been the last semester of his senior year. While that is an exciting decision and a praise worthy accomplishment, I became an empty nester about six months ahead of schedule. Then, a week after my boy moved out my mother died and my duties and habit of being a caretaker were no more. Separation from my previous roles meant that I had to manage the emotional clutter and the literal baggage that remained after their unexpected departures. I had to sort through their belongings and decide whether to keep or discard items. It was very difficult for me to throw away, destroy or give away items that belonged to my children and my mother.
The sorting process was painful and necessary. I have often referred to this process as purging. However, after I looked up the word, I realized that although I really didn’t use it correctly, I realized that I still experienced the outcomes of the process that occurs when one purges. My initial goal of sorting and purging was to separate from things that no longer had value to my home or my mother’s home because the people who claimed ownership of the things were no longer present. What I found was some weird connection to their things. A connection that caused me to feel like eliminating the things from my space would increase the distance between them and me. This feeling made no sense because they were both gone from my space and my actions could not change the moments that took them away from me. Each time I picked up, touched, or looked at an object I transferred energy that gave new life to the thing. Suddenly, I found myself surrounded and overcome by dancing memories, thoughts and emotions brought on by things that I aimed to categorize as useless and worthy of the pile of things to be discarded. I realized how people might become hoarders or why I hang on to that pair of shoes or that box of books in the garage or that plastic container of cars and trucks years after any of those things serve any purposeful existence other than as place holders.
I allowed myself to sit with each thing and reminisce about how we came to be acquainted and how we were blessed to share and enhance the life of someone we both held dear. The shared moments with the stuff mirrored a lyrical continuum of a classical composer. Like symphonic movements, my emotions filled my body from the deepest place inside and engaged me completely. Whenever I relaxed into the moments and permitted the emotions to take hold of me, they made me laugh until my stomach hurt or sob until I was breathless. Months of this process was exhausting.
By the end of 2015, I made a decision that it was time to experience the freedom from the clutter that my loved ones left behind. I accepted that in most cases the value in the things laid in the experiences with the ones I loved and not in the inanimate objects. I bonded with these things like they could keep the spirit of my loved ones breathing in my space. I empowered the things to do what I feared I could not – remember the moments with my loved ones that I cherished.
In 2016, I have decided to find new ways to hold on to and honor the legacy of the journey with the parents who I still love and the children I raised. In 2016, I will preserve those memories by telling stories through my writings and by use of my voice. I will speak about the impact of parts of the journey with them that made me laugh and some parts that caused me pain. I will speak from my heart in a way that I hope will bless my audience with encouragement, empowerment and enlightenment. In 2016, I will purposefully and intentionally pass on things that I hold dear with great hope that their new owners will love them and make new memories that provide enjoyment, pleasure and empowerment.
I took a picture of the toy cars and trucks as a way to preserve the memory for a later date. These toys were my son’s favorites and I bought him cars to add to his collection whenever I traveled. They also made neat stocking suffers for Christmas (not to mention that were pretty inexpensive). These toys are the first specially cherished things I have been holding on to that I will pay forward. I am excited that this decision to share my family legacy of love and support has presented an opportunity for me to heal while simultaneously arousing creativity, dreams, and enjoyment for the recipients of the gifts! These gifts will be kindling in a fire built to encourage, empower, and enlighten many villages.
In 2016, what will you pay forward from your journey?