April 23, 2023
I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. -Lao Tzu
It’s been 6+ years since we sold our house and moved into an apartment. It came at a time when we were struggling financially and trying to create a path forward. Out of all that pain, discomfort, and downsizing, a new lifestyle emerged and lightened our mental and financial load. It was liberating! Now a new season has arrived as we prepare to move back into a house (still renting for now) with a yard, large garage, and plenty of space. We will finally be able to spread out and expand our activities!
The past several years have brought significant lessons and losses. I am grateful on a whole new level for where we are and how we have moved through it all. The hardest things lasted longer than we expected, stretching us in new ways and carving out more layers of our insides. That digging, scraping, and pulling hurt, but now our inner vessels are larger than ever. They can hold more love, compassion, and grace than we’ve known before. I still wince at times from the memory of pain and the lingering grief, but gratitude and joy have filled those spaces.
This move will involve more letting go as we sort through the things we’ve been storing. We have a new sense of what we need and value. There is a lot of negotiating that takes place in the process, since Art and I don’t cherish all the same things. Books, for example. I have boxes of books in the garage, and shelves full in our apartment. As we sat on the couch the other night looking at the bookcase, Art said, “Are you going to take all of those books?” Sigh. Really? Books are timeless, but there are some I no longer need. Weeks before my mother died, she said, “What’s going to happen to the books?” I assured her that we would keep them in the family, and sure enough, they are boxed up in my garage. So, you see where this comes from.
Spring cleaning is good for our brains as well as our living spaces. We make choices based on what is important, useful, and necessary. Empty space is liberating! Not only for the absence of clutter, but for the opening it creates. Where there is empty space within and around us, something new can emerge – perhaps ideas, opportunities, or creations. When we hold space, we may be surprised by what shows up in our lives. It’s not always easy to let go of things we’ve been holding on to, whether they be beliefs, books, or baking pans. We tend to fill our calendars, cabinets, and corners, and then wonder why our lives feel so crowded. Simplicity brings serenity. This, too, is a choice.
When we have outgrown something in our lives, like our living situation, we get restless. This stirs us to make a change, as hard as it maybe. Change brings discomfort and an opportunity to release that which no longer serves us. I know I am ready for new spaces and possibilities! There will be sweat and tears and occasional swearing along the way, but this is the passage. We have filled this space with memories, laughter, and love, and those go with us. Along with copious books, journals, and spices.
Grace & Gratitude,
Elisa J. Juarez