Dearest reader, letting go is not easy to do. Have you ever had to let go of something dear to you? There are times when it’s inevitable to say goodbye and part. Oh yes, it may break your heart. But oh dear reader, you will feel so much lighter.
Letting go of my Ginseng Ficus tree before I move
This evening, my hands holding firmly onto the sink countertop, I cried over my Ginseng Ficus bonsai tree. I am moving, packing up and relocating to an island. Sadly the bonsai is not coming with. “I’m going to miss you so much. You have been so dear to me all these years. I did the best I knew to take care of you. Thank you for keeping me company and being my silent friend,” I said, my lips trembling as I wiped away more tears.
Letting go is hard to do…
In just a few hours, I will be on a plane. In just a few hours, I will be up in the air while my Ginseng Ficus tree will be firmly rooted to its pot. Will it feel the pain in my heart as I strive to listen to the cabin crew’s emergency instructions? Will it shed tears of sadness as myself and about 200 other passengers prepare to land, some 2,562 miles away?
OK. You might think it’s not even that far. But what is distance when I know that I will not see my Ginseng Ficus tree again? The fact is, I am having to let go.
As a minimalist, it’s not that hard for me to let go. Over the years, I learnt to cultivate the minimalism mindset required to keep my possessions to a reasonable number (for me personally). However, tonight, as I performed the nurturing task of singing over my bonsai and washing its leaves one by one, it hurt. I don’t know if I can do this. But of course I did reason some minutes later that I can and will let go. The bonsai cannot accompany me on my next move. Rather unfortunate. Or a sign of an impending grieving period.
My friendship story with a Ginseng Ficus tree
The bonsai wasn’t just a beautiful tree that I’ve been pruning with love (and total beginners’ luck). I wouldn’t even call myself a garden addict or botany expert. I love plants but I’m incapable of naming flowers and trees. Unless it’s the obvious rose. Or the King Protea. But this, tonight, were tears about something deeper than the tree.
You see, sometimes our things remind us of a certain period in our lives. A certain person. A certain event. In this case, the bonsai represented my second relocation to Cape Town. Yes my second (if you’ve visited this city you’ll understand why you can’t just come here once and leave. It will keep calling you back!).
The beautiful (much smaller then) Ginseng Ficus tree was a housewarming gift from my friends. It entered my life on the 17th August 2013. Its arrival was so welcomed in my life because I had just broken up from one relationship. The bonsai offered company. It is after all a living thing. Of course it couldn’t talk back, which gave me full rights to monologue sessions. I took care of it and felt responsible. I had to take care of myself well so I could be strong enough to look after it. The bonsai then witnessed how I pulled myself together after the break up, how I pulled myself together after a disastrous rebound, and pulled myself together after another break up in the same year.
As the bonsai’s roots grew deeper, mine did too in this cosmopolitan South African city. I had bought a bed, a couch, passed the probation period of my new job, and had a routine. Success – I had (once again) made Cape Town my home. I would tell the bonsai all about the fabulous adventures I was living. My ficus would no doubt hear me laugh as I chatted to friends who visited. It would smell the delicious home cooked meals or sushi or pizza deliveries. It would see me swipe left or right on Tinder. It would hear me singing in the shower or while I cook. It would hear my laughter as I read a good book and sip on my tea.
So if you’re struggling to let go of something in your life, answer this:
- What does this item/ object represent to me?
- What memories are attached to this item?
- What do I fear I’m letting go of as well, in addition of that item?
Once you pin down what it means to you when you let go of that thing, there will be clarity. Once you get clear about it, you can then start the letting go process. It goes like this…
Finally letting go, and doing it with joy
I realized that saying goodbye to this bonsai is like turning over the page for a new chapter in my life. So I guess my mind processes it as “oh no we are erasing that chapter, the one where we moved in here and picked ourselves up, remember?”. And I have to remind my mind that it’s OK. It is time to make space for a new season. Besides, we aren’t ‘erasing’ anything. The memories will forever remain etched in our heart, no move can take them away. We can learn to let go and accept that the previous season is over. We can embrace the transition and joyfully step into the next season that is about to begin.
“Thank you for being my silent friend all these years,” I repeated to my Ginseng Ficus tree. “It’s been such a delight to wash your leaves, to water you, to prune you the best way I knew how. I am sad I won’t be here to look after you anymore, but I’ll make sure someone else will. I also hope you’ll continue to thrive little bonsai.”
With a mix of sadness and joy in my heart, I begun my first step towards acceptance. I was not only letting go of the bonsai. I was letting go of everything that is familiar and comfortable. I was letting go of my life in Cape Town. I was letting go of this home. But all this is needed if I am to get ready for my new home.
In the process of letting go, you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.
I hope you too can find peace if you’re letting go of certain things in your life right now. If you’re relocating, it’s no doubt an emotional time. Let me know how it is going for you and what you found helped. Comment below or feel free to send me an email at hello (at) mademoisellenomad.com