I spent almost the entire day clearing the storeroom today, something that I had procrastinated for a long time. My aim is to impress your mother with a storeroom that she could actually walk in and access the things she needs. Before today, it is so full that the door could hardly be closed. Now, there is actually leg room (although not a lot) and things are stacked more neatly.
Spring cleaning turned out to be more rewarding than I had expected, although I much prefer to be doing something else. But I know that ‘doing the mundane’ is also part of life. The day has been physically draining and mentally relaxing, but emotionally challenging. Conceptually, the process seems simple …
- Empty the storeroom
- Decide what to keep, i.e. Should I keep, give away, or discard?
- Place the items to be kept back into the storeroom, and get rid of the rest
As expected, simple isn’t necessary easy, especially with step 2. There were several items which I haven’t used for a long time and unlikely to ever use them again (e.g. the ‘doctor suitcase’ which I bought myself with one of my first pay cheques, old magazines that featured articles I had written, stacks of handwritten notes made as I was conceptualising my businesses, old name cards, etc.).
Eventually, sentimental value prevailed over practical utility. I ended up keeping most of them in a box labelled – memorabilia. And I learnt that ‘letting go’ is an extremely complex endeavour. While it is possible to put physical items into a box and store it away, we can’t do the same with memories of our past experiences. Our memories are accessible anytime, easily triggered by external stimulus. And when too much of the undesirable experiences are brought back to the present, it can leave us with a heavy heart – one which could benefit from occasional ‘spring cleaning.’
If our brains were functionally normally, we don’t easily forget, especially negative experiences, for they tend to leave a more indelible mark in our mind. We can’t just empty the mind in the same manner as clearing a storeroom or erasing data from a hard disk. With matters of the heart, we need to practice the ‘art of letting go.’
To let go of something is to release our grasp. The most common ‘thing’ that ought to be let go of is resentment. Resentment is essentially the result of unexpressed anger. It’s one of the most common barriers to happiness. Left unaddressed, resentment is highly toxic and causes a strain on our relationship with another.
Is there anyone that you resent, even in a small way? Try letting go of such feelings by inhaling deeply, holding the resentment in your tightly clenched fists, and letting it go as you exhale gradually while you release the tension in your hands. Repeat it several time and watch your anger or resentment dissipate each time you release your grasp.
Does your heart feel a little lighter now? You now have a remedy for a heavy heart. Letting go is a solo exercise, you could do it on you own anytime and anywhere. Remember to use it when needed.
Your Lighter Dad