There’s something incredibly sad to me about “putting away Christmas”. I’ve let it all stand through the (almost) twelve days (and the days before) and rose each morning to the sparkle of rainbow lights. The color is about to drain out of the room soon and what remains will be only and all that these walls have held.
It’s time for freshening up. The plan is to continue to free myself of old memories, trinkets and junk in the garage so that I can move everything from the house out there while we paint and replace this worn carpet throughout. The thought of being free of yellow walls in the kitchen and hall is absolutely thrilling. The notion that this will be a blank palette gets my heart racing.
Without giving in to the reality of the noise and disruption that change will bring, I am beginning the process. Whereas yesterday was the day I couldn’t part with anything, today feels like a good “tell the truth” purge kind of day about letting go.
How does it happen that we hang onto so much ? Memory is a big culprit. Each item I touch sparks a memory. If the measure of saving a thing is “what sparks joy” how do we ever give up anything ? Even when a thing doesn’t reach right in and tickle your heart with joy, it can trigger other deeply held remembrances. I often feel like throwing away the “thing” abandons the memory. Therein lies the problem.
The worst for me are the paperish things. Cards, ticket stubs, newspaper headlines … old journals. Most of these I look at once every decade and then tuck back into a box never to be touched or viewed or remembered again until the next decade.
And then there are books and photos.
I have finally discovered the joy of digitally “borrowing” books from the library. It’s not perfect for everyone, but it’s “just right” for me right now. Last night I got a reminder that my “loan” for the great book I’m reading will end Wednesday. I renewed my loan for another 21 days which will allow me time to finish. Mountains Beyond Mountains has me captivated and now I’m free to relax into the last half with just a tiny footprint on the Universe. Win-win.
(Speaking of books: I feel like I need to read A Gift From the Sea again. Anne Morrow Lindbergh was in my dream last night. She handed me a book, but I’m not sure what it was. It was the oddest dream. The two of us on the beach, shells scattered in a pattern that seemed like a maze, and a book in her hand. Maybe it was the other book on my list to read: “Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead. Maybe it wasn’t her book at all. It all faded quickly after waking, but I know she handed me a book and I took it as a sign … )
So, onward I go through the sparks of memory and joy. I think my new rule should be: if I died suddenly tomorrow, would anyone keep any of these things ?
What constitutes value ?
How do you manage memory, and ultimately, the “things” that serve as touchstones ?
What does it mean if a thing “sparks joy” and you tuck it back into a box. Is there an easier way to make sure memories are preserved without the baggage of things ?