“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor Frankl
I’ve spent the last few weeks purging 9 years worth of accumulated possessions. The only thing that helps me get rid of stuff is to think about moving it. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve finally started purging some toxic emotions too.
Selling the house is the first step towards achieving everything I have been asking for – a chance to rebuild my family, get out of the rat race and focus on what I value in life. Yet this week I found myself obsessed with the past. Instead of looking forward and creating, I was focusing on the negative events over the last year that helped precipitate the move.
Knowing I was stressed, a friend of mine offered a massage and I gladly accepted. We sat down to talk first, and as we did I realized I was “head tripping.” I was trying to solve my anxiety by “figuring it out” with a logical solution. Telling myself all the reasons I shouldn’t be feeling how I was feeling. I quickly realized that if this could be figured out in my head I would have done so already. My friend’s opinion was that I was holding in a lot of anger, which needed to be physically released from my body. I didn’t think I was angry, I just felt confused and stuck.
She sat me in a chair and put an empty chair with a pillow on it in front of me. Imagine this is the person you are angry with, she told me. Tell her how you feel. I started talking, falling back into my usual “head tripping” MO. She asked me where my anger was (later she told me that when she asked me this my face changed from a little bit flushed to beat red.) Suddenly I was on my feet, screaming obscenities. Punching the pillow. Crying.
All my life I’ve tried to be the good girl. Good girls aren’t supposed to get angry. Good girls don’t say things that hurt people. Good girls must behave a certain way. Good girls suck it up, internalize it, swallow it down instead of making anyone else uncomfortable. Fuck being a good girl. This is exactly what I needed.
When I sat back down again, my friend pretended to be the person I was upset with (she had been smart enough to move out of the way while I vented.) With the anger expelled from my body, I was able to listen to her words and move into a space of compassion, rather than agitation.
I’m the one imprisoning myself with the thoughts of the past, instead of creating my future. I’m the one stuffing the anger, instead of moving through it and letting it go. And I’m the one allowing other people’s feelings to be more important than my own. Until now. This move is helping me purge more than possessions. It’s time to clean house, inside and out, and move on.