Sunday, November 30, 2008

Old Becomes New

There is something that most people don't know to expect when we've known each other for some time as we do, readers... I am sensitive and emotional and intuitive as any woman is, but I am lacking in sentimentalism. I don't keep Christmas cards or knick-knacks that aren't useful. 
I am not a pack rat, nor do I support having drawers full of things I do not often take out. Every three months or so I pack up the clothing I don't wear and give them to Goodwill - even if I still love it I am not wearing it, so out it goes ( with a couple of lovely exceptions ). 
When Anthony moved in with me he had boxes and boxes of toys and doo-dads he certainly doesn't play with and I think he found me rather ruthless in my desire to keep our new home streamlined ( we have very little storage ).  We have made peace about it all - he understands the reason I cannot cling to things: we cannot take any of them with us when we ultimately depart.
I have a way of giving all things personalities: teddy bears, pieces of favorite jewelry, coffee mugs, etc, and that road ( if travelled down too often or over-indulged ) can lead me to a place of desperation and tears because I love this particular life and this earth so much that I fear the thought of leaving. Especially the thought of leaving alone and empty-handed.
Giving things away or cleaning house is a mini-death every time and keeps me focused on simplicity and freedom from grasping - a spiritual exercise of sorts. A reminder ( and God knows I do love reminders ). 
The sadness in my heart at the departure of that Broadway Playbill or my favorite keychain from my teenage years is soon replaced by an expansive rush of air and.... freedom. A deeper breath.
My first piece of jewelry was adorable and a lovable fail: I took a six week class every Saturday morning for two hours this time last year. I did all the filing and drilling and polishing and my instructor did all the soldering. There were 9 other students and we spent most of our time vying for his attention in a small line around his soldering bench.
The idea of the piece was to cover it completely in silver balls and opal, but much like sitting down at a piano as a beginner and trying to play Mozart, the result was thin and disappointing.
I realized as I watched him solder how far I had to go and how much I'd have to get over my fear of fire (deep, deep fear) and all things heat-related. 
In the spirit of the strong desert wind that I often invite in to sweep out my life, I am using my prong-bending tool to take out those opals and put them into something new and vibrant.
It will mean the monument to my first silver experience will be but a photo-memory. It will mean that as I pry the metal off of the stone a few tears may fall in remembrance of the strong desire that wrapped them into existence. My heart will do its very familiar constriction as it dances with the sudden, practiced realization that this is a dress-rehearsal for a bigger letting-go.
Ten fingers will revolt as they do with every dress I put in the bag for someone else...
every old dish I ate off of as a child that gets put into a box for someone new...
Each book already read that needs to experience the world through new eyes...
My brain will scream, "Nooo!!! Cling tight to the firm reality of this piece!!"
My greater self will unbend the metal and unbind my freedom from my possessions once again, as patient and kind as a mother to a child who falls and gets caught in the grief of gravity's unexpected force.
Guiding lights will lead me to the idea yet to be born: a new setting for the opals, a new peace with setting suns and aging parents.
In rushes the deeper breath: out of the green woods comes my freedom once again.


Ann from Montana said...

I am also ruthless when it comes to drawers or closets or garage bins of unused things.

I love the British terminology: "having a clear out". I never thought about the "not taking it with me" angle, but I do know that I like, in fact NEED, to "travel light".

I have bolted awake in the middle of the night with some idea of stuff that needs to go, or some closet or drawer that needs to be cleared out - bagged things up, put them in the car and pulled up to the Thrift Store as soon as they opened.

And sometimes it is not just the "stuff" that needs a good clear out - I often find that as I'm focusing on clearing the stuff, there are choices or tasks or some direction in my life that needs clearing also - or at least a re-making. Maybe it is that in the distraction of clearing stuff, I see the guiding light...

You may be done by now or at least know the direction the new piece is to take... I can't wait to see!

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Allison; you captured some of my feelings about clearing things out and the feeling that ultimately we can't hold onto anything forever.

Can't wait to see the opals' new, certain to be inspired, setting.

Good Girls Studio said...

Allison, this post brought tears to my eyes as I think of all things I have lost or let go through the years.How right you are that they are but "things" & cannot come with us in the end! I'm off to declutter my life!

┼Żabacorporation said...

I printed your post and sticked to my door among various quotes to remind me of what you said everytime I pass along it.
Your words are freshening and relieving:-)