While helping a friend with overseeing his movers and closing up his apartment, I was reminded of the importance of saying goodbye to one’s space before moving on.
I loved his space, mostly because it was an extension of him. More than this though, I was aware of how much I wanted to honor his place before shutting the door. After all, it had given him safe walls while he worked through some big shifts in his life. It was a space that he and I had spent time in, gotten to know each other in, celebrated family events in and it had held him through many different moods and learning curves for 10 years.
When I was 18 my parents, who had recently got divorced, asked me to go up to the family house I had grown up in and turn off the gas, double check the windows and doors were locked, turn off lights and put the keys through the mail slot. I would be the last person in that space. I remember standing in the hallway and taking in the feeling of the house. It had gone through troubling times, like many family homes. What I became aware of was how grateful the house was to be let go of and allowed a fresh start. As I walked through the rooms and floors, what transpired was a conversation with the house that I was never expecting. Without furniture, belongings, décor, it was able to reveal itself to me in its true state. Memories came up, naturally, grief, sadness and laughter but so did gratitude for the house, gratitude for the support of the walls and the doors and the floors through the years as we bumbled along in life. By the time I did double lock the front door and put the keys through the mail slot, I felt closer to understanding that spaces hold the essence of whoever has spent time there. It was a very alive feeling, conversing with the house, and I felt an unexpected peacefulness about moving forward and saying goodbye.
A conscious, grateful goodbye to space allows you to slow down enough to mark all your growth in your memory file and become aware that – even if you were very unhappy – you had a space that held the experiences along with you.
So, as you pack up the boxes of your life, slow down. See the imprints of your life on the place, the impression you made, even the neglect. Take a moment to listen, witness and respond to what the space is revealing to you. The space is YOU in a way, so enjoy honoring all the experiences you have had before moving on.
Tools that might help:
Sage in the corners of the rooms
Ring bells to release the old
Clap as a way to release energy
Write the space a letter of thanks and burn.
Talk out loud to the space – have your ‘conversation’