In the last few months, I’ve been thinking about why we hold on to unpleasant memories and experiences. Why do we allow them to endlessly rent space in the “attic” of our minds? We wonder if we could have done things differently. We harbor hard feelings. In some cases, we just leave our stuff unresolved.
Recently, I had a crazy experience that forced me to confront what I had been storing in my own attic, literally and figuratively, and illuminated what’s possible when we free up that space. By giving something a second chance, I made my own life better while doing the same for someone else.
Facing my clutter
I was visiting my mom in Florida, where she reminded me to look through some things I had left there when I lived close by. Among them was my wedding dress from another life long, long ago, and far, far away. The dress had been hanging in her closet for years. I loved it when I bought it. It was unique and reflected my personality. It was from a time that started happily, but ended not quite as expected.
When I moved to Arizona, I left it hanging in my mom’s closet. I didn’t want to take it with me, but I was unwilling to let it go. So it got stuck in my “attic.” When Mom reminded me about it (thanks!), I realized it was time to #choosewisely. It was time to empty the attic and set myself free.
On a whim, I posted the dress to Facebook with three simple pics and a price. Within a few days, a nice woman from Arizona sent me a message. Her wedding was just weeks away, and her dress had been lost by the bridal store. She was in a panic and hoped my dress might be the answer she desperately needed. The next few days were a whirlwind of texts and scheduling as we arranged to get her and the dress in the same room for a fitting.
A second chance to shine
With my husband onsite in Arizona (thanks, Bruce!), and me on Facetime from Florida, she went into a room to try the dress on. When she reappeared, we were stunned. It fit her like a glove! She was thrilled with the vintage style. Even better, she didn’t have to do a thing to make it perfect. In an instant, what had been “clutter” was reborn as the star it once was.
After the wedding, she shared pictures and told me about her wonderful day. People commented on how beautiful she looked. She shared the story of how she found the dress. I was overcome with joy knowing how happy it made her on such an important day in her life. The dress that was holding me back propelled someone else into a beautiful new chapter. I couldn’t have been more excited and pleased.
Be kind to yourself, but act
On reflection, I realize I wasn’t ready to release the dress from its closet prison when I first moved to Arizona. That’s OK. Sometimes we need to give ourselves space. But as time passed, I kept pushing it aside. It was just one more unpleasant thing I needed to do. I realized I needed to act. And when I did, I brought positive energy into my own life while creating new opportunities for others. It felt so freeing to happily let it go, and showed me how much I have grown, learned, and moved on.
We all shut people or things “off” for a variety of reasons. Maybe we aren’t ready. Maybe it’s too hard at the time. But this experience reminds me that, now and again, we need to make a conscious effort to look unpleasantness straight in the eye, resolve it, let it go, or sometimes even give it a second chance.
What are you storing in your attic that might change lives if you #choosewisely to set it free? #unlockyourpotential