Throw away the past: Literally! – Amy Jordan

Throw away the past: Literally!

I was cleaning out stuff recently and came across a shelf full of journals, some dated as far back as 1992.  I am grateful I don’t have attachments to ‘things and for the most part, I threw them away, but I did flip through some of them.

I found the same notes repeated over and over, year after year.  There was a sense of desperation.  I saw how hard I was fighting to survive.  I read about wanting a relatinship (still do) and desperately needing a job.  I longed for a home of my own and some stability.

In 2009, before my bus accident, I wrote fearfully of my ailing health.  I was battling a serious food and speed addiction compounded by type 1 diabetes.  I recognized now, in reading my writings ,that I was killing myself.  I hated my body, and the top of each list was LOSE WEIGHT. 

I continued flipping through the pile of notebooks.  The theme remained constant through the years but after 2009 and my accident, the theme transitioned to the question of my survival.  How was I going to eat, would I ever walk or dance again?  Where and when would I have to suffer and recover from another surgery?

How could I even be loveable?  I felt so much pain.

Take a moment and reflect on your old journal writings and fast forward from then to today.  While this may seem sad it is quite remarkable.  Like me, after some reflection, I want you to say ‘wow’, look how far I’ve come.

When we do the work the inner work, take responsibility, set boundaries, and stop people-pleasing or worrying about what others think, our environment responds a thousand-fold.

 Now, I take a moment to reflect on what is present for me today.

I have a beautiful home in Florida though recently, I’ve been longing for the freedom of my NYC apartment. You see my visual impairment keeps me from driving and the isolation I feel in Florida has been messing with my head.

Like so many people, because of the Covid pandemic, I have not traveled in over a year.  I was now very ready for fresh energy and the ability to go to CVS just because.

When I arrived at my NYC apartment, I found myself (somewhat manically) throwing things away.  I am a bit of a minimalist and I am not attached to ‘stuff’.  Maybe this stems from moving so much as a young adult but I have no problem throwing things away or ‘letting go’ of things I haven’t used or no longer need.

The reason is almost irrelevant at this point as I have been rather enjoying this purging of a past life, a different time.  As I flipped through decades of journals, I knew it was time to toss them, but I did save a few pages to show the theme of my writings over the years that have yet to have materialized.  As I read them, I began to feel weepy.

I was able to recognize that I had manifested so many of my written goals.; My SGI Buddhist practice, consistent action, therapy, and recovery from codependency. I recognized successful results and I continue the work which is constantly evolving.

I continue to focus on my physical and emotional well-being. Once I took responsibility for my life, I was able to maintain a job and support myself financially.  While I was angry and terrified when it happened, I am now SO grateful my enablers cut me off or just simply disappeared. Their absence forced me to get my act together for my survival.

Has anybody else gone through anything like this?

I read and recognized in my journal writings after my accident that I had begun to set boundaries and advocate for myself.  I began to say no without having to explain myself or feel guilty. By clearing the toxic people in my life, although lonely, I was and still am, emotionally stronger and spiritually grounded.

I now have healthy relationships, a beautiful home, and more than I could imagine when I was writing rent checks that bounced and my main focus was a roof over my head.  I am leaner and stronger now and my health and diabetes management are the best they’ve ever been.  The weight I so desperately wanted to lose all of my life is gone and I am determined to honor my life every day. I have made peace with my singleness and focus on enjoying every part of my life, partner or not. My new goals revolve around creating value through my work.

Do you have old journals with reoccurring themes? Is it time to let go of those themes that don’t serve you anymore, either emotionally or practically?  My twenty, thirty, and even forty-something self never would have been able to imagine how my journey unfolded.  My younger self would have said, ‘Hell No’ and then would have run for the hills.

Now it’s your turn- As an exercise, use a fresh piece of paper to write down all the things you HAVE achieved.  Give yourself a pat on the back and a wink for all that you have accomplished.  Remember, our external and internal environment reflects how we see ourselves, our self-respect, and our willingness to do the hard work.

With hard work and focus, we really CAN live our most amazing life.

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