Getting ready to start packing I'm looking at my bookshelves. I'm thinking that books should be an easy category to start with. I don't have many.
I've been decluttering them slowly but surely for the last 7 years.
But as I stare at them, suddenly paralyzed with influx of emotion, I realize...
Books are hard.
They become a part of our identity. Past identity, what we read and what it means about us; Present identity, what we're into now and who we are; and Future identity, where we're going and what we want to become.
Looking at my books from childhood, I begin to wonder:
Will I lose my sense of Self if I let them go? Will I lose my heritage? Will I forget where I came from and all the things my mama taught me?
What will it mean about me if I let go of my past, my upbringing, my education, my inspirations, and my past loves?
How will I know who I am today without holding on to who I was yesterday?
Looking at the titles of books that have contributed to who I am today in my personal and professional lives, the questions keep coming:
Who am I without these goalposts that mark the Journey I've been on and the roads I've traveled?
How will people know? What will they know of me if there isn't a road map to my past, like the lineup of the family photos and accomplishment awards on the mantel.
Suddenly I realize: I wear my books like badges of honor. Like the medals and ribbons earned by hours of breathing in words.
I feel my arms reach out and my heart clinging to them.
I watch myself wrestle between the Mind and the Heart, between attachment and oh so burning desire for freedom.
It also helps to turn away for a moment and in my mind's eye to look forward instead, to imagine the years ahead, instead of clinching to the years behind.
Who am I without my past?
I am my present. I am my future.
As I take pictures of my bookshelves I notice a twinge of pride.
"Look at what I've been reading' - my inner voice captions the photos.
I desperately wish you could see hundreds of books I've read and owned in my life. I wish that it would make you feel certain way about me, pretending like that means you would know me and hopefully would be impressed.
My ears are burning and my body is hot as I hear my own thoughts and a smoke of shame comes up.
I hold myself lovingly as I watch this witnessing and vulnerability of telling you about it releases the grip.
Softening my edges. Bathing me in love and acceptance. I'm grateful.
Tomorrow I will pack the books and find them a new home. A home where they can brighten more minds and open more hearts. Tomorrow I'm letting them go.