"We are all wanderers on this earth...our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams." ~ Gypsy proverb

Monday, February 6, 2012

Everything and nothing

This weekend, we had three very quiet, childless days as my boy and girl headed south to Palm Beach with their grandparents. It's been a long while since my house was that silent for that long, but my mission was clear. Armed with boxes, a sharpie and packing tape, my chance had arrived to tackle my children's bedrooms.

Looking around at all of the (temporarily) abandoned toys, lifeless and calm from their vacated playmates, I could still feel my children here, like a scent that weaves itself through a home, laying claim to everything it touches. As I bent down to clean up this little table of wooden chairs, with gemstones and rocks placed attentively on every surface, with wooden animals, horse stickers, and magnet skeletonheads in attendance, I could hear my daughter's voice in each and every character. Dismantling it right away just didn't feel right, and I wondered at the story behind it all. I paused, gazed, and listened.

And it was the same in my son's room, my son who saves everything...from an old bloody bandaid pinned up on his wall (boys....), to a magazine collage of teddy bears he made when we was three, to a 5 foot long crochet chain he made when he was six. As often I as I have been disgruntled at these objects, toys, and souvenirs, stepping on them, tripping over them, and having cleaned them up every other day, I do know they have been essential to my children's stories, passions, and youth.

I know I am overly sentimental lately, and maybe paying more attention to the little sparks and reflections that tell us who we are provides comfort. In the end though, these sentimental feelings really are only reflections, and a validation that things change, move, flow, evolve.

So some things have been neatly and gently packed, others have been placed in a give away pile, and most things have been placed in a sell pile, including my large, green, beautiful shelf from Bali.
And from this I am learning.
I am finding peace in knowing I have taken nothing for granted.
I am finding peace in knowing I am deeply grateful for everything.
And with this peace, I am finding that I can let it all go...

"That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs. Everything is in process. Everything—every tree, every blade of grass, all the animals, insects, human beings, buildings, the animate and the inanimate—is always changing, moment to moment."
~ Pema Chodron

Wishing you a beautiful Monday...

Linking with Amanda for Weekending...


  1. Oh what a lovely post. All these reflections you are having as you pack up life are just wonderful. I'm enjoying every one so much. I had to laugh at your comments about that boy saving everything. My guy is the same, and he doesn't like change. He's so sad that we are getting floors replaced (they got ruined w/ some water damage) cuz they are the floors he knows. He's getting a new bed and spent some really sad time last night thinking about his current bed (now broken) that he's had since he was 4. I've promised to try and use some of the wood from this be in constructing a new loft for him.
    Anywho...another great post from this huge life change you are experiencing, thanks for sharing MJ.

  2. ***I am finding peace in knowing I have taken nothing for granted.
    I am finding peace in knowing I am deeply grateful for everything.
    And with this peace, I am finding that I can let it all go.***

    amen to all this mj. beautifully said.

  3. I share my space on this earth with a home full of males that want to save everything and the biggest guy is the worst. I have to tell you MJ that I envy your move [in a nice way] and the chance to just clean out and lighten the material burden that seems to creep in when one stays in one place for years. I am thrilled for you that you will have this new 'rebirth' in a new and wonderful place and I am thankful I will be able to follow along. Much love to you as you continue to prepare for the journey.

  4. pema chodron arrived for me in the form of a small book at precisely the right time. i'd not have heard her at any other given moment.

    i was ready to be changed

    and then i changed.

    beautiful fluid you.)))


  5. yes, things do change, flow, evolve and we do as well. glad you're not fighting the current, keep flowing along with it in preparation for your grand adventure!

  6. Even though it is bittersweet to pack up-you are heading for a wonderful new phase in your life! Transition is never easy but makes growing inside ourselves fun!

  7. it's been so sweet to watch your honest transition through all of this. you are sensitive and able to express your sensitivity through words and photos. it's a wonderful thing.

  8. Wow you are cruising. I know what you mean about the kiddos' leavings. I am so excited about your move and I thank you for sharing your adventure and your wise lessons with us.

  9. What a beautiful reflection on the treasures of both your children's lives and your own...

    What an important and meaningful process for you MJ!

    p.s. How exciting that you are going to Squam...it is a dream of mine!

  10. So beautiful and so thoughtful. You are such a good mom.
    Pema is a favorite of mine as well, she has helped me through (unwanted) moves,
    divorce, scary sad things. I'm sorry you have to leave your shelf, but I just know the next person to have it is going to be thrilled, and I also think something wonderful (to put your cherished ) books on, will come your way.

  11. Packing up the kiddos' rooms...must be getting close to the big day. I know what you mean about the strangeness of a silent house that has all the evidence of children but none of their sounds.
    I hope all your sorting, boxing, and getting rid of, leaves your energized and feeling lighter as you sent out across the country.

  12. it is always best to travel light! but, it is hard to impose that on our children. we've paired down our things tremendously over the last 3 years of moving, but ezra has the most boxes of us all.

  13. first of all, i wanted to say... i am so smitten with your beautiful space here. i happened to click on your blog because of the link in someone else's blog roll... and your blog is now in mine. i'm glad i discovered your serene blog and gifted writing.

    this post was very though-provoking... and absolutely resonated with the kick i am on to de-clutter my world {and quiet it}. i actually just wrote about it, too. but reading here, i wish i could have put it so eloquently as you have.

    letting go of things is the most freeing feeling and act. it is something i am hoping to practice much more of, the older i get. i was always a pack-rat. still am, i guess. but now that i have a rapidly growing infant, i find it more difficult than ever to let go of thing of his once he has out-grown them. i would like to hold on to the days, and somehow, i think holding onto the things that those days held will help me hold onto the days themselves. he is changing so much, and though i love each and every stage, i miss the previous ones. anyway, i'm sorry for rambling. i just really wanted to say how much i like this post. it's nice to know there are others out there who are a little like yourself.

  14. Oh, how I love Pema.

    So, so beautiful and poignant. I love reading your words.

    I'm proud of you. ;)


  15. Lovely post, your pictures are beautiful.

  16. I've been nodding the entire time- since I can remember the topic of downsizing and purging on your blog- and then I saw that gorgeous piece from Bali......and I found myself resistant! Holy cow, you are a brave soul! The sentimental side of me was screaming, "keep it! It's divine!"

    I love watching your journey unfold. It keeps shining light in the areas where I need to stretch out.

  17. i adore those little child vignette's, their stories, static yet alive.

    i've tentatively started the Big Simplifying Part 2 (part 1 being when we emigrated). It's gratifying knowing that as a declutterer, the job isn't in the least overwhelming. ;)

  18. Beautiful photos... I simply adore those wood toys and that bookshelf.

    Wishing you a delightful day!

  19. Beautiful post and photos, MJ. My first thought was that you are *brave*...that's the Cancerian hoarder coming out in me :) Decluttering is one of those necessary stage-of-life things that can be hard to go through where sentiment is involved. But I love how considered and respectful you are. And that your son kept a bloody bandaid on the wall :)


“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
~ George Bernard Shaw