March 7, 2021: Stepping Stones And Letting Go
During this past year, the pandemic has led to many changes in our lives; from how we interact with others, to where and how we both work and play. While technology has given us tools to function, we’ve had to adapt to social isolation, missing the gift and physicality of human touch. With the tide of this dreadful disease hopefully turning, we have had time to reflect on what changes we want to keep from this past year, which ones can we let go, and what will this next chapter in our lives look like?
Last year, after the cancellation of all our shows, we discovered that interwoven with the disappointment and concern for economic worries, was the joy in actually having time to explore and pursue other avenues of interest. We implemented a particularly rewarding balance of work and play, taking time off each day for outdoor explorations and exercise. This gave us time to explore the beautiful areas that surround us, reaffirming why we live where we do. For the first time in many years, I had time to work on photography, my camera becoming a trusty companion every time we headed outdoors. My watercolors were dusted off and through the process of ten paintings, I rediscovered how much I loved this art medium
These positive and reaffirming experiences gave thought to questions on what 2021 would bring and what changes we wanted to keep. Having a quieter lifestyle had its awards, and gave us time to reflect on the ordinary habits and material objects in our lives that caused unnecessary stress.
One important reflection was that we had too much stuff that no longer reflected where we were in our lives and the goals of where we wanted to be. Both my husband Ron and I tend to hold on to things, “just in case we might need it.”
But in honest discussions, we admitted that locating “missing” things was one common stressor. Our basement was chock full of the boxes we had promised ourselves we’d sort through when we moved here 8 years ago. Childhood toys from our now adult children, were jammed beside boxes of photographs, books, and paraphernalia from past careers and hobbies. We had two closets filled to the max, with clothing we had once adored but hadn’t worn in years. Our garage is filled with storage boxes carrying everything from holiday decorations to show equipment. Witnessing the chaos subtracted from the beauty and serenity of our home.
It is overwhelming to think how much needs to be sorted through in the coming weeks. This is particularly relevant, in that right now we have a huge storage trailer squatting in our yard; while our now empty basement is being renovated to create a functional space for artistic pursuits, exercise and hobbies.
The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.Steve Maraboli
But like any journey, seeing through this significant clutter challenge began with one major step; identifying what we hoped our lives to be like in this next chapter. After much reflection, our goals for the coming year were to maintain a healthy balance and facilitate creative expression. In determine our direction, we’re essentially rewriting the outline of our story and mapping out its future with key guiding questions.
“What are the parts of our life that we treasure, which ones support our dreams, hopes, and needs, and what things can be let go?”
“What activities, events, materials, relationships, etc. will support us and what will detract from the direction we hope it will go?“
This goal centered focus is helping us to find the stepping stones for this next chapter; including the hard decisions on what to keep and what to let go. The questions are also clarifying how we plan out the calendar of our days and where and who we spend them with.
Last year was a challenging one, but it also left us with some valuable insights and understandings about life. Especially on the fact that while there are some things in life we are powerless to change, there are aspects that can, if we just take the time to discover them.
What discoveries have you made this past, unprecedented year? What changes do you plan to keep and what can you let go? As always, we thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this blog. We welcome your thoughts and invite you to share it with someone who might find it meaningful.
Here are a few more quotes to inspire and share:
To let go is to release the images and emotions, the grudges and fears, the clingings and disappointments of the past that bind our spirit.Jack Kornfield
Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.Daphne Rose Kingma
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.Tao Te Ching
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.Walt Disney
Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.Herman Hesse