5 of 55 packed boxes
So when I began doing some work 88 miles north of here, we wondered together if Sarasota might be an option for the move that has been in the back of our minds. In reality we tried not to make this decision quite yet. I spent the better part of July and August looking at options for renting for a year or so to 'try it out.' But our immediate family includes two dogs which the rental community frowned upon again and again. If we liked a location, they wouldn't accept the dogs. And if they accepted them, we didn't want to live there!
The day finally came when we looked at one another and said, let's just look for someplace to make our move. Let's do our downsizing and get on with it. And so we did. With the help of Rebecca St. Pierre, an awesome realtor and member of Pine Shores Presbyterian Church, within three weeks we found a small home in a community that will welcome not only us but Bear and Dexter.
The past few weeks, alongside filling out enough paperwork to reforest a small state, and going through drawer-by-drawer, shelf-by-shelf, and closet-by-closet of accumulation (separating into "Pack-Give Away-Throw Away") I've continued to keep Spiritual Direction appointments, lead a weekly meditation group and a weekly book study group. Surprisingly, what I've found in the juxtaposition of this work that I love and the necessary losses of a down-sizing move, is that they have a lot in common.
In my sacred reading time this morning, this quote from Laurence Freeman's "Aspects of Love" brought into pinpoint clarity what I've been experiencing: "As we learn to be poor in meditation... giving up our thoughts and saying our sacred word...we accept our mortality, we accept death and dying as part of our growth, and we learn to practise non- attachment, non-possessiveness, non-acquisitiveness in all our dealings with each other."
It only now occurs to me that perhaps even our planning for this move at this time in our lives, is the fruit of the 'letting go' that is so much a part of the contemplative practice of meditation. That our counter-cultural voluntary act of becoming smaller (as opposed to 'the one who dies with the most toys wins' philosophy) is indeed part of the spiritual work of coming to our True Self by laying aside the trappings--some tangible, some not--that have defined us in our early years.
Most contemplative writers call this kind of event or awareness a "small death" meaning that it's a manifestation of the biblical concept of dying-to-self, in order that God might possess more of us. And with each box packed for Goodwill... and with each box of paper sent to the recycle bin...and with each opportunity to say "no" to having 2 or 3 of something I only need 1 of... I am aware of a new lightness--or Lightness as the case may be.
In sharing this, I don't want to be proscriptive. Not everyone needs, wants, or will go through this kind of experience. And furthermore, the reality of what this move at this time illumined in my spirit, was a revelation in the process and not something I pursued. God often works that way in my life (and maybe yours as well) we come to understand or see clearly only in hind-sight.
So seven days from today we will close on our new home. A few days later movers will come and take one-third less stuff than we had just a few weeks before. There will be things left behind that we won't miss and some that were harder to give up. The whole experience is a reminder that we are ever only sojourners here. This place, this world, is not our true home. And all the small leaving behind we do, all the small letting go we do now, makes room in our hearts and minds for what in God's goodness and mercy lies ahead. Forsaking what was, we press on... we press on.
In Peace and in Joy, Kathleen Bronagh Weller, THECELTICMONK