Thursday, February 11, 2010

how is moving similar to being in relationship with an addict?

My husband and I moved on Sunday from the four bedroom home (2400 square feet) we had lived in for the last 12 years to a two bedroom apartment. (1200 square feet). In preparation for that move, we threw, sold, or gave away about half of all we had amassed over the past 24 1/2 years of marriage.

As I watched a second bedroom set, a wrap-around desk, 40 boxes of books, countless knick knacks, dishes, serving platters, utensils, linens, and bags of clothing make their way into the arms of friends, family and strangers, I observed a parade of memories and feelings move through me. Some I allowed to pass quite easily. Others I clung to and cried over as they made their way out of my life.

And then there were all of the books, knick knacks, files, notebooks, blankets, etc., that I just couldn't let go of, that are sitting in my new home, taking up more space than I have, piled high in boxes that hug the walls and cover corners of my new four room home. When I decided before the move not to buy storage space, I made a commitment to get rid of whatever doesn't fit. Many of these, I stacked in the den closet, with a plan to take them out, one by one, and reassess their contents, only keeping them if I could find something else in the apartment to give away.

So now that we are all here, my husband, our stuff and I, I am working with those parts of myself that simply don't want to let go, in order to get brave and strong enough to let the past and much of its material evidence, go. And there is the rub: if I let go of the stuff, does that mean the past never happened?

On some level, the part of me doesn't want to let go says yes. Without the evidence, it truly never did.

In this way, moving is much like being involved with an addict. Over the course of the years of relating to an addict, there are invariably some events, situations and interactions that come and go, leaving memories in the form of scars, wounds, sadness, anger, and resentment. If we choose, at a certain point, to let go of the bad old days, and to simply live in each new moment that presents itself, are we denying the very real pain we felt, the negative actions of someone we loved?

Sometimes it feels like we must remember all of the many ways we were wronged in order to keep them from happening again. But, much like extra shoes, books, sweaters, and knick knacks that we no longer need, these old hurtful feelings, when nurtured beyond their time, end up owning us, overwhelming us, boxing us in  to days gone by, and drowning us in a sea of sadness and resentment, keeping us blind to the potential  'open spaces' we could be enjoying without them in our life.

My answer to the part that says it never happened if I don't hold on to it is "I disagree. It did happen, but it's over and it is time to let it go in order to make room for new memories to be made." What is your answer to the part that is demanding you hold on to all of your things or all of the bad feelings you have accumulated over the years? I'd love to hear from you! Write your comments below or send them to me at

Next week, we will look at how to decide what to let go of and what to hold on to and how to actually let go of things, feelings, places, ideas, etc., that no longer serve us.

Coaching Thought:
This day offers possibilities of spacious freedom, both in our hearts and in the environments we occupy. All we have to do is ground ourselves in each moment, in each precious in-breath and out-breath and we can begin to enjoy the possibilities.

Coaching Question:
What are you holding onto beyond its time? What are you feeling and refeeling over and over again that is keeping you tied to the past and out of the peace of the present moment?

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