Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Moving Ritual

Here is a ritual method that I have found useful for moving.

As I prepare to move, I look over every item to consider whether I want to keep it in my life. If so, it gets packed. If not, it is either given away, sold, or otherwise disposed of. I choose whether it is something I will continue to use, or if it is so beautiful that I want to have it gracing the presence of my new place.

Moving often is a process we often treat as simply packing everything up now and eventually sorting through it in the new place. Sometimes those boxes have a way of never getting unpacked and simply taking up space in the new place. How much more energy flow there is in the move into a new place if we treat the process differently. Sorting before packing, I become very conscious of what things I have and what things I need. What I need will become a little clearer after the move, and then yard sales or stores can provide the appropriate items.

Simple can be powerful. I came up with this ritual after one moving experience where I literally boxed up everything and made several long trips to move. Then a few months later, I moved again, and after that move, I realized that some of those things that just got moved twice, I didn't really use much and could easily let go of. That would have saved me quite a few hours of driving, packing and unpacking had I realized that earlier plus I could have made money or made gifts out of what I no longer wanted or needed.

When I moved out here, I did not have a permanent address or a job and so moving everything was not an option. So I sorted through everything and just brought the books, music, art and other items I most wanted to keep. I kept the clothing that was really useful and my favorites to wear. The rest was donated to charity. Amazingly, everything that fit that description fit into my car. I had to redo the exercise several times, because, of course, at first, everything I wanted did not fit in the car, so the car became the organizing guideline.

Actually considering what is needed or really wanted and what stuff just keeps getting packed and moved because we have not made a decision becomes a very powerful clearing exercise, not just for your stuff, but for your self. It is a very outward sign for what you want to continue or do more of, and what you are letting go of and doing less of. You are preparing your life for the next stage of your unfolding and growth.

By the time I unpack in my new place, I will feel much more there. It takes some time living in a new space before it really feels as at home there as in the old place. But this moving ritual has made that transition much more powerful as a tool to digest and assimilate the lessons that are presenting themselves. It also increases the amount of joy in the unpacking process, because with every box you unpack, you know that this is something you want and will use, rather than finding your self saying "now why did I bring this?"

Making a ritual out of an activity that signals a major change makes a mundane task into something special and meaningful.

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