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Cleaning The Junk Drawer – Part Ii: Mementos Vs Monuments

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Ayanna Clarke

BY AYANNA CLARKE

FOR the last few weeks we’ve been talking about our personal or emotional junk and getting rid of it. A hefty task to be sure. Why?

Many of us won’t admit we have any junk in the first place. And if you think admitting it to ourselves is difficult, imagine confronting it so that we can be healed and move on. Here’s the thing, we have already decided that junk is inevitable, but to differentiate between what is necessary for our growth and unnecessary to any personal progress is a large part of the work.

When it comes to junk, or we may as well call it what it is – emotional baggage – many of us, me included, have been guilty of majoring in the minors. No matter the effort we place in trying, we hold onto some things that we really should let go of. Seeing that this series is turning into an exercise in transparency, I must admit that I was champion at this. I held on to hurt feelings, disappointments, memories of molestation, trust issues, unfair treatment, gossip, you name it – it was in my junk drawer. Until one day I realised a few things: Try as I might, I couldn’t determine how I was treated by others, and I was the only one who could determine how and when I mended, if and when I was mishandled.

Once this recognition took a real hold in my mind, and heart, I moved full force into a cleansing and healing practice that has made me more whole, more focused and much more able to walk out the same process with others. (You will find that your ultimate healing is in being there for others in their time of recognition and reconciliation with their own junk, but I am moving ahead of myself).

Some of the main things that got me through was prioritising my experiences and emotions; understanding what was held onto for far too long, and systematically dealing with the issues as a matter of priority. (With professional help, in some cases)

One confession I will make is that I was thoroughly guilty of turning mementos into monuments. What do I mean by this? A memento is meant to be a small keepsake of a place visited, an activity participated in or some other memorable occurrence in your life. Good or bad, there will always be vestiges of an experience left behind. Unfortunately, and especially when we are confronted with disappointment or hurt of any kind, we tend to magnify the experience until it becomes a monument, an all-encompassing roadblock that hinders our growth in a particular area, affecting who we are and what we are all about. Experience becomes an exercise in endurance until what has happened colours our levity, our life, and our language.

I know of persons who, like me, built up monuments to trauma in the family, in marriages and relationships, business or church connections. The list, for some, is endless. For this, I have the following of advice: If we recognise, rank and reconcile much of this unnecessary junk, we can shrink many of the monuments we are holding onto back into mementos, which have a far less significant grasp on our personal growth. In other words, freeing ourselves from the weight of unnecessary junk can liberate us to move ahead in our lives, giving us the emotional quotient to deal with the really important stuff.

We want to learn the lesson from the trauma and move onto true progress. How do we know we haven’t moved on? We talk about the junk as a victim. We invest emotion in the junk, displaying bitterness and anger. We base decisions upon the junk, hoping for vindication or affirmation I applaud those of you who have only necessary junk to deal with. But some of us must honestly admit we’ve held onto some things for far too long and we really have to strategically name and deal with a monument that should be a memento, before we take any steps toward our destined place.

God bless you this week!

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