Putting down the grief. How I learned to let go of my childhood home.
I'm feeling a little nostalgic these days after my parents announced that they have finally sold my childhood home in Santa Barbara. Even though I haven't lived there since I was in high school, it still feels like a huge loss.
My parents downsized over a year ago and have been trying to sell the "the big house" ever since. So, a few months ago my family (my sisters, parents, and our significant others) went up to the old house and said our good byes. We cried, shared memories, and my dad OMed.
We moved to Santa Barbara after our home in Los Angeles had been destroyed (while we were in it~ a story for another time) in the Northridge earthquake in 1994. I have so many memories in that home. I learned to drive while living there, I had sleep overs and birthday parties there, and most memorable of all- I got married there on July 7th, 2007. I learned about myself, about what it means to be part of a family unit, and about life in that home.
In no way was this a "normal" house. It stood on 20 acres and had a tower. But it really was a home and that's because we, my family of 5, made it one. I remember seeing the house for the first time and my sisters and I ran wildly through the halls. We each picked our bedrooms and the fact that there was no fight over who got which room was a sign that this was the place for us.
Of course, our 20 plus years there had their fair share of ups and downs. Someone lost a toe on the diving board, I broke up with my boyfriend in the back yard, and our dog died in our arms on the laundry room floor. I got bruises, made bad choices, and had unfulfilled expectations in that house. But that is what makes my nostalgia even more poignant.
Oprah once said, "we all know the truth when we hear it."
Here is my unavoidable truth: hands must be emptied before they can be filled anew. It is the same with our hearts.
The feeling of being "at home" wasn't sold when my parents sold my childhood home because the feeling comes from my relationship with the energy of the home and the people living there, not the actually physical space. Like other relationships, this house shaped me just as I shape it. And the new owners will feel the presence of love that remains in that place even though the Bridges family not longer resides there. At least, I hope they do.
Here is what my grief over selling my childhood home has taught me:
- As long as I clutch to anything- a house, a rail, or a relationship- my hands cannot open or reach for anything else.
- I must risk putting down the thing I'm grasping in order to build or touch something new.
- As long as I cling to the history of our old house I can't embrace that my parents are in a new lovely home that we will continue to make memories in.
What is something you are grieving right now and what open-ended statement(s) could you pose to yourself that might reveal the essential truth about yourself?
If you're having a little trouble coming up with something, try sitting quietly and breathing in this one phrase:
My grief is here to heal me.
-Sit quietly and bring to mind one thing that you are clinging to
-As you exhale, open your hands and try to let the feeling loosen in your heart
-Practice using your hands to open your heart
When you allow yourself to drop into the truth of why your heart aches and why that matters you have real opportunity for growth.