How to get what we crave involves paring down, getting clear, and letting ourselves see what is true for us.
“This was the practice: I was starting to get rid of my possessions, at least the useless ones, because possessions stood between me and death. They didn’t protect me from death, but they created a barrier in my understanding, like layers of bubble wrap, so that instead of thinking about what was coming and the beauty that was here now I was thinking about the piles of shiny trinkets I’d accumulated. I had begun the journey of digging out.” ~ Ann Patchett, “How to Practice“
There’s nothing quite like the catharsis of moving. You have the “purge all the stuff” phase (that is slowed down by the “go back and reread all your journals” phase), organizing, wrapping, toting, and finally, the “one last purge” phase before putting everything away in your new nest. I’ve done this five times since early 2010, and I’ll be doing it again in a couple of months.
I joke that I’m down to one pair of underwear and my toothbrush.
My belongings are not quite that sparse, but if not for the plastic bins filled with work files and records I must keep for a certain period of time, I could probably haul everything I own in the back of a pickup truck—in one trip.
Before I move from the family house where I have spent a glorious winter of deep work, I will cycle through the purging phase once more. I’ll bring a more fierce, culling eye to this meditation of moving on. Release another batch of possessions, clothing, books, and cookery that no longer fits. (I’m thinking of doing more of a pyro-ceremony for the clothing that was suited for a person I no longer am, in neither temperament, desires, nor physical size.)
My Ideal Self
The weight I have released (and continue to release) in both materials and pounds of flesh represents the transition to the next phase of my life. What my astrologer says will be 50 years of freedom and happiness and love.
I believe her.
As I cycle through each move, I get closer and closer to my ideal self. She whispers from inside the sealed boxes and taps on the cardboard, “Look over here…there is a hint hiding inside for where you want to go and whom you want to become. Let the contents in here go to another. They are buffer you no longer need or want.”
The Beauty That is Here Now
What we think will protect us from death and pain, protects us from living life and feeling alive. The stuff we accumulate. The weird ways we hide: too much physical weight on our bodies and spirits. Limiting thoughts. Being yoked to substances and habits that numb us. Denial. Clinging to toxic people, obligation, and duty. Fear of being seen, fear of not being seen. The thrash of not knowing. The sting of wondering if we have what it takes, and indulging it by opting out.
Craving intimacy without connection. Being tethered to old expectations…most of all, our own.
The Beauty that is here now is us and within us. It is our creativity. Our unique vision and voice. It swims inside our hearts and minds and souls, bumping into the edges of us, seeking the escape hatch to daylight. It’s the hand that only we can place upon the shoulder of our ideal client and guide to the seat that gets great morning sun.
What We Crave
We can start digging (in and out), right where we are standing. Don the hat of the archeologist and grab a tiny pick and get to the entombed parts of us. Uncover what we really crave, what we fantasize about living and creating, hold it up to the sun and turn it slowly to study its every curve.
If we let go of what no longer serves us, we can embrace the truth of whom we really are without walls or crouching, so as to not offend or alienate.
We have the right to live into the beauty of creativity’s promise, raw and present. What we turned away from is always turning toward us, knowing that with our paring down to what is true for us, we’ll see it shining amongst all the clutter.
The life and business we deserve have not given up on us.
There is still time. There always is…until it runs out.