Sometimes it’s the banal things in life that trigger deep thoughts, right?
When I lately cleaned out my handbag, I came to see again how much I am a “keeper”, holding on to things and pushing out a decision to separate myself from them. And my handbag really just is a symbol for many areas of my life (and house).
There’s this ever growing bottom fill that I carry around, which makes by bag heavier and heavier and ultimately prevents me from finding things in my bag that I really need, like my keys.
As I extracted the pebbles (in the picture above) that I picked up on an afternoon I spent at the river with my kids from the tangled mass of receipts, business cards, hankies, candy, … I realized that not only in my handbag I miss clarity and essence, but in a few areas of my life.
I discovered that by holding on to many things (or people, engagements, habits) I lose sight of what really is important to me. I don’t have the energy to run, when I carry such a heavy bag with me all the time, I don’t see what matters, I don’t hear the friend who really needs me to listen, I miss the sunny afternoon playing in the garden with my daughter, because I run for each and every appointment.
So, what’s my conclusion from this realization?
Firstly, it’s that cleaning out regularly, sorting what I need, what I want and what I can let go of is a habit I want to take. Maybe not scheduled, but being more aware of those signals that tell me it’s time to let go. When I get stressed, when I am listening less and running more.
Secondly, it’s to remain conscious about the engagements I take, to learn to say “no”. This new “no” comes from a place where I mean it, because I want to say “yes” to something else. No guilt, no regrets.
How about you? How about a practice of checking what kind of “too much” you carry around for a long time? Take a moment to reflect what feels stressful or burdening – engagements, people, possessions – and identify what makes it hard to let go of something and what holding on prevents in your life.