Comforting Words: Making Room in Our Lives

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Making Room in Our Lives

This might sound weird but I have to say I love moving.

As a child and over the years my family has changed places of residence so many times that I look forward to the “newness” that comes with relocating. The thought of decorating a new place gives me a rush that others get from substances or fast cars.

Similarly to those seeking a rush from these other activities I spend on my brand of excitement. My favourite purchases are mats, rugs and sometimes even appliances to match the new décor – not to mention the bathroom stuff! I am notorious for buying things for the bathroom.

So here I am again in 2008 in the final throes of preparing for my next move. This time although not crossing any oceans or seas, the move will take me a fair distance away from my daughter and the place that I have just started to think of as home – from Edmonton to Calgary, Alberta.

For someone who has moved twice on the same street in less than two years you would think that this latest move would cause no pain.


On Friday amidst 6 blue recycling bags bursting to their seams with papers that I accumulated over the last several years; papers that now seem useless the tears were rolling down my face.

Unlike other moves, this one is easy in terms of the physical labour. Regular readers will recall the ‘adventures’ of a not so recent move of mine when a con artist of a moving man left my family and I stranded. Well this move will not require me to either personally hire movers or even pack anything really – unless I have a deep desire to do the latter myself.

This time around as it is work that is taking me away to another city, my employer is arranging (and paying for) everything – from contracting the movers to the packing and unpacking of my delicates – if I am so inclined.

Despite the challenge of moving away from my almost 21 year old baby girl, I am still able to recognize the upside of moving. One of these is – and something that I would highly recommend and wish I would do without the moving – the chance it gives you to de-clutter.

No matter how often I move there always seem to be an abundance of junk that I have accumulated – mostly paper and trinkets. I love to collect paper and hate to throw it out. Every meeting, every office, every event that I attend and they have scribbling on a piece of paper I will collect it and take it home for some future reference that rarely ever happens.

On the rare occasion that I do go through my files, drawers, old suitcases or storage containers to de-clutter without having to move, I will find a reason to keep every scrap of paper. It takes a monumental reason for me to part with that important phrase that I wrote on a hand-out at a retreat 10 years ago.

That reason is usually moving and particularly moving into a place of great distance, such as when we left Jamaica for Canada almost 6 years ago. Hence on Friday as I went through the last couple of suitcases I was re-reading and having a hard time deciding to throw out journals, letters and handouts from 2000 – and even some of Abigail’s exercise books from Grade 2!

My emotional response to de-cluttering is real as I was parting with more than paper – it was the letting go of the physical memory that each scrap held that was challenging. The fact that I could not simply go back whenever I wanted to and pull out a box and relive times past was what hurt. It felt like I was saying good bye to old friends.

However, now that the apartment is cleared of the unnecessary clutter and even of significant pieces of furniture that held memories that it was time to let go the pain has gone. This is precisely what de-cluttering one’s space does – it literally frees up space and more importantly it also frees up your energy.

Usually once I get past the clinging and all the ‘stuff’ is gone to the dump, like the truckload that I dispatched on Saturday morning, a feeling of exhilaration overtakes me. Yes, there is some fear of what life in this new place and city will bring; fear about being all of 3 hours drive away for my baby girl and some anxiety about my new job.

Yet, there is much more space in my life right now – space for new experiences, new memories and even new growing pains. Truth be told you do not have to wait to physically move to experience this openness. A literal and/or mental de-cluttering can and ought to be done once we begin to feel bogged down with ‘stuff’ that threaten to cut natural breathing off.

There is a saying – “Nature abhors a vacuum,” and what it means is wherever there is space it will automatically be filled and it will be filled with what your heart desires.

Therefore two things one need to do are (1) always be making space in your life – literally and metaphorically empty yourself. Secondly, be careful what you wish for as that new space will be filled with your true desires (not the ones you tell people, the ones you hold in secret).

Creating space can be hard for some. It takes either a swift kick or that big relocation for the stubborn ones to let go of the clutter. What I have learned and therefore can advice is that when your kick or move appears - do not resist but embrace the pain of saying good bye to your treasure trove of junk.

The ‘rush’ that you will experience from being opened up and with room for more and seeing how the Universe (or Nature) will fill that space is worth it!

I know this for sure because I am living it now.

Blessings until I get to Calgary!


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