Letting go

As we greet 2016, I’m celebrating a clean slate – emotionally, physically, financially, and spiritually. The past year was a parade (some might say a circus!) of “let goes” which brought an avalanche of good into my life.

If only it was easy. But part of the value of letting go, I find, resides in its difficulty. It requires trust, faith, and spiritual maturity to release old, outmoded stuff.

I “retired” from work in Health Education at Kaiser Permanente in August of 2015. But retire is so not the right word. It’s been more like a headlong leap into my writing and artistic life.

In the process, I did two important things – create a new work space in my home and join a co-working space for writers in San Francisco, The Writer’s Grotto.

But wait, you exclaim, why do you need two work spaces? Oh, my little grasshoppers, because writing is a lonely profession, one that actually requires a village to do sanely and well. And what a magnificent village I have joined! (More on that in later posts.)

A private sanctuary is also vital for my creative life and, thus, the home work space. I live in my imagination – a lot! – and I like it that way, so I don’t handle moving stuff around in space very well. For that, I need helpers. And three splendid ones appeared: Brittni Coleman, Mohammed Ghaleb, and Camilla Hardmeyer.

Brittni helps with the transformation

Brittni helps with the transformation

With the help of these more practical angels, and with many fits and starts, I have been able to transform my home office since I left nine to five work.

Office before and after

Office before and after

I must also credit Marie Kondo, author of the best selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Loaned to me by my daughter Meghan, this little book gave me the courage and motivation to tackle a massive decluttering.

I began with clothes. Then I sold or donated more than 15 boxes and bags of books. For me, books are like old personal friends so I practically sobbed on my way to the Friends of the Library bookstore. I also gave away old, outmoded furniture. This opened space for a new look and feel in my office.

Shelves reconfigured and reinstalled - with many fewer books

Shelves reconfigured and reinstalled – with many fewer books

“No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past,” Ms. Kondo writes. “The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.”

Once begun, letting go gains momentum and magically extends to our inner world. It is an ongoing, mysterious process, so I’ll report back as 2016 unfolds. To create space for the new, we must release the old.

Rev. Jeff Anderson at the Oakland Center for Spiritual Living speaks to this. You can follow Jeff at his website, or watch his talks online. I send him a big “namaste” for his inspiration and friendship this year.

I’m grateful for the support I’ve gotten to take the plunge and purge. And for all the wonderful new people and experiences that appeared in 2015.

May you be blessed with the ability to let go and receive all the good your heart desires in 2016. Let me know how it goes. I’m cheering all of us on!