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Day 250: Discarding the Past

“To change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and the psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use.” ~Anais Nin

It has never been easy for me to discard things. I am not quite a packrat with piles everywhere, but if in doubt of the future need or value of something, I hold onto it. This has proved useful in some ways with my four children, as clothing, coats and toys had long lives and were well loved. Besides the apparent usefulness, the clothing and toys came to represent a time of life for me, that only deepened through each child’s use. This explains why I still have boxes of small childhood clothing and toys that I can’t quite part with, each object carries in it the ghost of the childhoods that shaped me as much as it did them.

I carried the same sentimental attachment to objects in my business. Old packaging, product samples and piles of contacts filled the work space as I could never really be sure that the future might not need some of those things. Over the last year, these objects have been steadily thinned until finally now, I am left to discard most of the papers and cards recording the early conversations that was the start of the business’ evolution. Sorting and discarding was surprisingly freeing. For the first time I wasn’t looking back anymore. I stopped believing that I needed these old names to build the future.

Sometimes, moving out of our old skin is a stretch in the beginning. When we can’t quite picture the future we have agreed to, it is easy and comforting to cling to old stuff as a way to be prepared for what is to come next. Actually, it is one way that we keep ourselves from seeing the truth of where life is taking us. Discarding the objects that surround us from the past is a much truer preparation for a future we are imagining.

It is a kind of leap of faith for me, this practice of discarding. I trust that what I needed to glean out of the contacts and paper trails is already inside of me, percolating into something new and fresh. Even as I can’t fully picture this new place emerging in me, I am happy that I can now make room for it. Still some things are worth saving. My future grandchildren might just love some of those old toys waiting in boxes.