When do you know it’s time to let go of a particular behavior, thought pattern, or emotion? How do you decide when it’s time to release a resentment or fear, practice forgiveness, and experience mental or spiritual peace? How do you know when you’re ready to move on from the effects of an event that seemed to make time stand still in your life? For that matter, even when you decide that time has come, do you know how to move forward?
Moving can be a challenge. Especially when it comes to thoughts and emotions.
My family recently began preparing for a major move from our current home to another state. If you’ve ever made a major move, you know it can be a daunting task deciding what you’ll take with you and what you might leave behind. My own moving experience had me reflecting on how we decide when it’s time to move on from certain painful events in our lives, letting go of lingering effects while holding on to anything useful from that event. More importantly, how do we decide to move out of ourselves the unnecessary thoughts and emotions we’ve collected that may no longer serve a purpose? Over the years I’ve learned there are two basic “moving styles” – I’ll call them “reactive” vs. “proactive”. Reactive movers take a “Hey, we’re moving! Woohoo! Let’s just pack up and go!” approach, throwing every item – down to that receipt for dinner 16 years ago – into a garbage bag and off they go onto the next adventure. They have every intention of sorting through the mess once arrived to the new location, though settling into new surroundings quickly becomes distracting and they never get around to that cleansing. If you move more than once in a lifetime (which most of us do), this results in dragging with you a lot of unnecessary baggage. I’ve been told the benefit of this style is that “you don’t have to take time worrying about what stays and goes”. It’s a streamlined, quick approach to getting from one point to the next. Proactive movers take a more methodic approach. They begin sorting through all of their belongings in advance of actually packing so they can rid themselves of any unnecessary baggage before they move forward – specifically, so they can move forward more freely. Once they arrive to the new destination, settling in is easier and space has been created for all the new that is waiting to be realized and collected. I’ve tried both styles and can clearly state I will always prefer being a proactive mover – both with my physical belongings and my thoughts and emotions.
I’ve tried living with the unnecessary baggage of fears that held me back and resentments that held me down. My life became heavier from all the extra weight.
Though being a psychotherapist I have the “inside track” on how to move unwanted thoughts and feelings through me and on out the psychological doorway, it sometimes doesn’t make it any easier. For many this can be a repeatedly frustrating endeavor as those extras hang around in their hearts and minds for years. Research on the connection between psychological stress and physical ailments suggests strong connections between the weight of unnecessary emotions and the toll taken on our physical health. Learning how to move unneeded thoughts and emotions out of our beings may literally be a lifesaver for some. I’ve learned a few things about that process from my own life lessons, from clients, and from watching the natural way the world moves around us. My life’s work largely depends on my skill in helping others learn how to pack up and move the result of life’s burdens out of their minds and from their hearts and souls, releasing the chemical effects of those burdens through their bodies, so that they can move forward freely. In a few days, and provided my own physical move goes as planned, I ask you to join me in Moving, Part II, as I explore steps you can take in learning how to Move On.
In the meantime, take the first step and make a list of any behavior, thought, or feeling you’re just not sure you want as a permanent fixture in your life. At the top of my list is procrastination! For now I am returning to my own moving on experience, hopefully to gain some tips I can pass on to you.