July 15, 2022

The Emotional Relief that Comes with throwing out the Ancestor’s Trash.

I’ve long been a fan of Turkish Coffee.

I’m not sure if it’s the cardamom, the bit of sweetness (I usually drink coffee black), or the presentation, or a mix of all three. But something tells me it might just be the presentation. I’m an artist and a visual person after all.

After a friend sent me a Turkish coffee pot and two beautiful mugs with saucers, I set my mind to finding a metal platter to use when I served this coffee to guests. In the meantime, I made use of one of my favorite Christmas presents from last year, from one of my favorite people: a handmade wooden serving tray. But I still kept my eye out for a metal one.

When I say that I kept my eye out, I mean that I looked at secondhand shops and the like. I let people know I was looking for one. This is generally how I go about acquiring things I want but don’t need at that immediate moment. It keeps me practicing the art of manifesting rather than simply buying. And it makes what I do acquire generally all the more special for the reason that it came to me with a story.

A few weeks ago, I was cleaning out a shed on my parent’s property. It was a huge and daunting task, a dirty kind of work that I had been putting off for, well, years. My parents were raised by parents who survived the Great Depression. They had been taught to save everything. Because no one anticipates major and debilitating medical issues or dying suddenly, nothing had been stored in a proper way. It was all stored with the idea that it would be gone through by them “one day.” Letters, old photos, household items, clothes, cookware, and so on.

Opening the door to the shed was like stepping right into an episode of the television show, “Hoarders.” Only, this wasn’t true hoarding; it was just holding on to things they thought they might need one day out of fear of letting go of the familiar and the difficult work of sorting through it all to make space for what they wanted to keep.

And it was hot, sweaty, buggy, difficult work that took several days, and still isn’t 100 percent complete. What surprised me was how much I enjoyed doing it. It felt great, and not just because of the physical exercise; there was something more. I was sharing this with a wise and wonderful friend, and she summed it up in one sentence:

“You’re throwing out the ancestor’s trash, physically and emotionally.”

And that was it. In a nutshell. I was not only physically discarding junk that no longer served a purpose, but I was feeling emotionally unburdened as well.

My parents never got around to going through the shed. They never got around to doing many things they intended to do. They became masters of procrastination, always waiting on a perfect moment of readiness.

That moment never comes. And I was haunted by all the things they never got to do.

The universe knows what you are ready for and generally presents it to you when the time is right. The trick is knowing when to trust that is what’s happening and move forward in that knowing. In doing so, we can let go of what no longer serves us while making space for not only what’s to come, but what we want to keep.

I found my tray in a box of dirty and rusted household items, stored for years without being covered properly, but I was able to clean it up with a bit of work.

There were many more items that caught my eye, things that brought to mind a moment or memory from childhood, but the tray is the only thing I kept, the only thing I needed to keep. Most items, due to poor storage, sadly, were not salvageable, but I passed on a few that were to those who would appreciate them.

What I’ve learned from this experience is how much we hold on to out of fear, how we put off the dirty work because that’s what it is—dirty work. And how much junk can build up while we are waiting on that perfect moment of readiness.


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