Old Year/New Year: Continuing the Journey

Tall Red Flowers, Santa Barbara, 2014

Tall Red Flowers, Santa Barbara, 2014

Last year: We spent the first week of 2014 in Santa Barbara, CA. This was one of the highlights of our epic journey from west to east. Maybe it was because I knew I might never see that part of the country again, but I really soaked it all in. Images and emotions are burned into my memory. Photos like this remind me.

On that day last year I had no idea where I would be today. I must say, I am happy and satisfied that we made the right choice. I have been able to reconnect with my family and have a strong sense of what I missed for those 25 years in California. But that is the past. This is a new day, and coincidentally, a new year.

This year: For me this first week of 2015 has been focused on clearing out space, both in my own mind and in my mother’s house. For the last two days I have been helping her go through things like old china cabinets filled with crystal and plastic crucifixes, and plastic bins brimming over with old photos and love letters from my grandfather to my grandmother, and surveyors’ maps of the house they lived in for my entire childhood. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate, and how much of it seems precious and irreplaceable. We left those things alone, knowing that another day we might be ready to decide their destiny.

We recycled quite a bit of other stuff, which, at this moment is still in the back of my car. It seems like I will be selling, donating and recycling for the next five years or so. It’s OK though. I am glad to be a part of this movement toward a simpler, more focused and meaningful life. And I am very proud of my mother for jumping on the bandwagon with such enthusiasm.

My overwhelming thought is this: simplifying your life is not a simple process. It takes courage and persistence, and clear-headedness. And it’s not something you can do in a weekend, or even three or four weekends. Depending on your level of energy, it might take several years to get to a place that feels balanced. If you can take your time, you might realize that you are really on a spiritual journey, going deeply in toward a person (your Self) who has always been there, but who got lost in the details.

May you find the courage to let go of the past, and the persistence to really live in the present.

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