I finally established a simple system for dealing with the mountains of old photographs that have been haunting me for years. I’m not kidding! I have huge plastic boxes and shopping bags of photos in piles. I’ve been moving them around for the last few years from my closet to the dining room to my office, with a table cloth thrown over them so that they don’t haunt me so directly. Lol
And of course now that I’m dealing with them systematically, spending about an hour every day sorting through, putting them into piles by the decade that they come, from I ask myself what took me so long.
How many things do we do this with? We put something off having created a kind of a monster in our mind. I just told myself I couldn’t deal with the photos. What does that even mean…I couldn’t deal with them? It meant that I was overwhelmed by the thought of the task. Not the task itself but the thought of the task.
Whenever we do this and we procrastinate taking care of the task…whatever it is, we create a different kind of monster–the guilt in the back of our minds and the ongoing remembering of the task. Avoidance is not really an easy answer. It takes up space in our minds and in our “you name it” wherever the task lives in our lives.
Usually all or nothing thinking is the culprit for the kind of procrastination and avoidance that I’m talking about. I’ve seen it before in my own life. We inflate a task to overwhelming proportions and then all we can think about is that we’ll never get to the end of the task, in other words it will never be finished. And so we don’t begin because we’re discouraged, we’re overwhelmed, we’re overcome with the dread of the possibility of failure.
But the other level of this is our energetic readiness to let go of whatever it is that the “task” represents to us. These photos represent my past. A simple interpretation, but actually quite a bit more layered that that. They also represent the idealized moments and dreams of what my life was, and ‘should be’. Big stuff. Stuff that I’ve been releasing like a tsunami recently. “Should” never serves us well, it diminishes what we are, what is, and the unfolding perfection of life and ourselves.
I am committed to not ‘shoulding’ on myself and to releasing the grief of times and loves ones passed, and unfulfilled dreams. I am committed to reveling in what is and who I am, and dealing with these photos offers me the freedom to enjoy more of that, authentically. The main thing is that seeing myself start the physical task of photo-sorting tells me I am ready to release this stuff energetically, and that quietly thrills me.
Of course I learned long ago like we all did, about “chunking down” tasks to make them manageable. That’s really not the issue. The issue is our thoughts about the task. How am I going to do this, how am I going to accomplish it, how am I going to finish it? The question is not how am I going to finish it. In reality the question is how am I going to start it? Am I willing to let myself start it? Am I ready to start it and let go of it?
I started dealing with the photos the other day once I made the decision that I was not willing to have them take up space in my home anymore the way they have been, and space in my consciousness too, quite frankly. That’s the trade-off– do the work and gain freedom. That’s always the trade-off do the work and gain freedom. But I have to say that the decision was preceded by a vision of what dealing with the photos and being left with a collection of culled photos looked like in my mind. That vision made it possible for me to move forward…forward into my life, unfettered and more alive, to borrow from Joni Mitchell.
So the question might fundamentally be what do I want to be free of, what am I ready to release in order to be free, and what does that freedom mean to me, and how will I then use that freedom to express myself authentically?
Truth be told these photos represent the most precious memories from the very beginning of my life and even before, when I look at my parents’ collection of photos which I inherited. They are from every stage and phase of my life. So I’m free to peruse these memories, I’m free to be touched by them and laugh and cry and smile and remember. And in the end I will free up the space in my home and in my mind, and in my energy field that the mountain of photos has taken up.
Will they be organized within an inch of their life? I don’t know. What I do know is that I am throwing a lot away and keeping the ones that matter. And I’m trusting that at some point I’ll come up with a process for organizing them further. That’s not the issue; right now the issue is that I started and that feels wonderful and I already feel the freedom. And I get to move forward expansively into life and myself without the ballast of the past and obsolete dreams.
What have you been avoiding or procrastinating about? What’s the freedom that you want? Are you willing to just take one tiny step to start? Can you invite a vision of what that freedom looks and feels like? Are to ready to release what you are carrying and travel lighter into your freedom? I’d love to read your comments about this.
As always, I hope you SPARKLE!
If you are ready to: Heal Lingering Heartbreak; Move through a Life Transition; or Bring Forth Your Gifts as a Spiritual Entrepreneur, I invite you to schedule a complimentary chat with me at the bottom of this page www.JaniceMasters.com/start-here/ Let’s see how we might work together.