It’s not often that I spend a Tuesday at home. Even less often, do I spend a Tuesday at home alone for most of the day. This Tuesday, however, I am glad to have the time to myself to transition and do a thorough cleaning of objects and connections. I am realizing that sometimes, even when we really want to keep something, it’s best to let it go.
“Whenever you are upset about an event, a person, [an object] or a situation, the real cause is not the event, person, [object] or situation but a loss of true perspective that only space can provide,” writes Eckhart Tolle in his book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. As he so eloquently points out, we are never upset for the reason we think.
Of course, the cleaning of objects is far easier than the cleaning of connections, isn’t it? I can stack magazines in a brown paper bag and donate them to the library. I can pull books and knick-knacks off the shelves, dust them, rearrange them, and rethink if I really want to put them all back on the shelf, or sell a few items at a yard sale. I can call the cable company and disconnect their services forever, or a few months — knowing that with just a phone call I can resume watching my favorite television series when Autumn begins.
“There are many fine things we cannot say if we have to shout” — Thoreau was all about the power of healing via quietude. We are bombarded with a plethora of bad news every second, of every minute, of every day, when we surf online or turn on the T.V. In her book, Susan Maushart, states, “The more facts we have at our fingertips, the less we seem to know.” I read The Winter of Our Disconnect, during the winter of 2012. Its impact was profound. I immediately wanted to rid our home of the television altogether. I compromised though and decided to go dark on a trial basis from June through October. What I found was that I had a better perspective on what was actually happening in our country and in the world. What I found was that, as I became less influenced by what was happening outside of my home, I became more aware of what was really going on inside of me.
It’s easy to open Karen Ehman’s book, Let It Go, and take everything she shares about cleaning out your home at face value. However, if you dig deeper, you find the real nuggets of wisdom between its covers. “We compare our reality with the perception of someone else’s seems-to-be ‘yay!’ she writes. We get so bogged down with the circumstances of our own lives, that we fail to see that others are on the same roller-coaster we are — they just handle the dips differently. Have you ever purchased an item because you thought it looked great in your friend’s home, then wondered why it didn’t look as fabulous in yours? Chances are if you had asked your friend if she thought the same item would look good in your home, she’d have said no. Not because she didn’t want your home to look fabulous, too, but because she knew it wouldn’t fit in with your decor. There can be value in someone else’s judgment. They can step back and look at the whole picture. They can save you from owning an item that you will, eventually, either be stuck with, or want to discard.
Sometimes you get caught up in the moment and the momentum drives you to make choices you later wish you hadn’t. My husband and I usually find ourselves being the recipients of “hand me ups” from our adult children, as opposed to being the givers of “hand me downs” from us to them. We recognize how blessed we are to have grown children who, indeed, are much better off than we were at their age; but we are also frustrated when we realize how our own finances have suffered with the continued downfall of our nation’s economy over the last 15 years. And yet, we are mindful that our financial situation isn’t entirely due to that national economic downfall. We could have made different decisions here and there, and those decisions could have made the difference between the couch set we currently have in our livingroom and the sectional we’ve always wanted.
The book I’ve learned the most from when it comes to letting go is the Bible. Paul wrote the following to the Philippians, but his words speak to me:
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:11-13
Paul is asking me — Do you have great needs, or are you discontented because you don’t have what you want? He is reminding me that — if I always want more, I am to ask God to remove that desire and teach me contentment in every circumstance. I need to truly let go and let God. I can’t just say the words and then continue to try to fix my situation on my own. It’s counterproductive and will only make me miserable. And that misery will make me buy items that don’t look good in my home, or push away people who only want to help me find the right item to compliment what I already have.
Keep — or discard, donate, move to another room? Stay connected — or disconnect; temporarily or for good? Letting go is never easy.