It’s time to say goodbye!
I tried so hard and got so far but in the end, it doesn't even matter. I had to fall to lose it all but in the end, it doesn't even matter.
Hello beautiful human,
Are you shocked? I know you must be wondering if I am taking leave from writing these newsletters. Don’t worry, I am not saying goodbye to the newsletter. It is going to deliver to your mailbox every Sunday. I am saying goodbye to the city that has housed me for the last 10 months. It is time for my family to move to a new city which means new beginnings.
New beginnings, what should I say about you? You knock on my doors at unprecedented times. Don't wreak havoc when you arrive next here. Until then, let's find comfort with the old.
This whole packing-moving-shifting business got me overwhelmed for the last few weeks as I started to sort things I want to take forward with me. It is not easy for me to decide to let go of things especially the ones I invested my time and energy in. We started with the decor. I saw the pictures of my family, the craftwork made by me and my siblings. It brought back memories - some sweet, some bitter. It is strange how things have the power to move us in these unexpected ways. Our things represent our state - a memory, an emotion, a feeling, or something about us that we don’t want to admit.
While we started with all these mementos and craftwork created by the three of us over the last 10-15 years, my mom felt unsettled. When she looked at all those things, she could see us working at those things, spending hours of effort trying to get that as perfect as we could. She saw the reflections of our labor in those newspaper baskets or clay pots or quilled bangles or pen holders. These things had much bigger emotional value for her than they had for us. This made me wonder about all the things that were meaningful for me but didn’t mean anything for anyone else.
We are not financially invested in things, we are emotionally invested in them.
Though it was hard, we had to let go of the things that didn’t make the cut. Decluttering physical stuff is more challenging than decluttering digital data. I had spent the past few days cleaning up my phone gallery and emails. It was quite easy because I was not emotionally invested in those things. When it becomes hard for me to decide whether to keep something or get rid of it, I know that I have an unclear emotion about that thing. If I use something or have planned to use it for the next few months, it becomes convenient to choose to keep it. If I know I will not be using it any time in the next six months or a year, I know I need to let it go. The problem arises when there are things like the diaries I have not used in months but I like, or the book I wanted to read three months back and have no idea what to do with it, the chipped mug that doesn’t look good but has a lot of memories attached to it.
Can you guess what is common in all the above examples? I have unclear emotions for each of them. There is confusion about each of these items. The confusion may be about the appearance, the utility, or the motive of the item. When I am not clear, I cannot decide. It is an easier choice to keep the item rather than give it away. That’s probably the reason I have had so much stuff when I moved out from Bangalore to shift with my parents last year.
Our current shifting reminds me of packing my stuff last year. I went through my belongings in three days. I had accumulated it for more than 2.5 years and I had to go through it in three days. That was crazy. I cleared up everything category-by-category. While packing, I had kept a lot of stuff because I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I know I don’t want 50% of the things I packed. Yes, you read it right. I will be arranging for a sale or a donation for those things once I move back to Bangalore hopefully next year. I didn’t know it when I was using it. I only realized it when I had to pack it. When you have a limited amount of time like three days for accomplishing something, your mind gets into action. You cannot bullshit your way into knowing what you don’t want in your future. You can bullshit your way into keeping it. But you know what you know. You cannot un-know it after that.
When this realization hit me, it crept into other areas of my life. I felt stuck with a lot of memories and dialogues without meaning to. It happened because of the transient stuck emotions attached to those incidents. Every memory and dialogue had a different way of troubling me. Sometimes, I would be nervous with a funny stomach, disheartened with a tight chest, or maybe angry with tensed jaws. It was not easy to understand what each symptom meant. Slowly I got to the place where I can see similar patterns because of a particular memory or a dialogue. It is an aha-moment. Once you find the stuck feeling or emotion associated with a memory, it starts to lose its grip on you. You become free to decide whether to hold on to it or to let go. The choice is handed back to me. I know this seems scary but it is not. Most of us get this feeling of being stuck when we feel powerless to do anything about it. I know I am not alone in this. Many industries are trying to get people through this, unsuccessfully of course. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it. We can in our limited capacities move out from these stuck memories to be free from the grips of what happens to us.
Reflections from my life
August was a hectic month. I wanted to be at the top of my game but it got to me. I was being a control freak. I wanted to control the people, the outcome, my own emotions, and feelings. And it didn’t turn out well. I was exhausted last month. I was so exhausted that I felt helpless and burned out. Still, I continued burning myself out. I didn’t have a proper chance to rest, relax and rejuvenate. I took time for reflection in the last few days. I know I worked hard and things are going pretty smooth. I still feel unaccomplished. I have come to understand that I have burned myself so much in the process that I expected a grand result. The result was not grand but I exhausted my resources. I couldn’t produce any more good results. I had high expectations of myself. I want to let go of these expectations and be myself. And I did that this morning. I meditated, listened to a few tapes of my spiritual teacher, meditated again, attended a breathing session, and talked to two of my friends. This feels good. Connecting to people when I am ready to connect to them makes it so much better. I hope you find that time and space for yourself to be yourself.
Question for you
We had this little game at the office of two truths and one lie. It was fun and I loved guessing everyone’s lies. Can you figure out my truths from the lie? Here’s a little test for you.
I haven’t participated in any fancy dress competition.
I have been to jail.
I haven’t drowned in any of my swimming classes.
Join the fun and tell me about your two truths and one lie. I will guess yours.
From the diary
Recently, I have taken up a new responsibility at the workplace. I became the leader of the Literati Club, where we discuss books, movies, poems, prompts, and have a lot of mental stimulation. I did a session last week where we created a big poem on the theme A Friday Sunset. Since it was a collective effort I cannot publish the whole poem. Here you have the snippet I wrote.
Friday O Friday! You come so fast. I wish if forever you did last. Please don't be walking away, I want this sunset to stay.
It is Sunday evening now. I am looking forward to the new beginnings in the new home in the upcoming week. I hope you are looking forward to something beautiful in the next week too.
Until next Sunday,
Take care, beautiful human.
Your writer friend,