All I want for Christmas

Unlike you — or should I say unlike some of you — I did not go shopping today. I did get a burrito at a taco stand, though I don’t think that actually counts as “shopping.” Instead, I again spent the day at my storage unit, clearing out more of my things. After getting rid of three carloads of stuff, the storage unit looks even fuller than it did before. (Admittedly, a Volkswagen Beetle carload is not the same as an SUV carload, but there should have been some obvious indication of all the work I did.) I still haven’t gone through everything — I only managed to get to about a fourth of what’s in the unit. The rest is packed in tightly, but little by little, I will find a way to get to it all.

Next I have to clean my room. Much of the stuff I need to sort through I brought here, so the room looks like a mini storage unit. So unattractive, and such a mess!

But that’s a project for tomorrow.

Tonight I’m writing this blog and drowning my sorrows in sparkling apple/peach cider.

Not that I have any real sorrows at the moment other than the very sore muscles and aching ex-broken hand from all the lifting. There’s nothing I particularly want. (Lucky you! If you were thinking of getting me a Christmas present, you are now off the hook.) And, considering the amount of stuff I still have, there is apparently nothing I need.

The few things I do want are more for the future, and I am making a concerted effort not to worry about things I cannot (or will not) change right now. When the time comes to worry about money or . . . anything . . . then I will. So even though someday there will be things I need, I don’t need them now.

Of course, there’s still that impossible dream, but that’s not about wanting, either. It’s more about doing. Striving toward a goal. To that end, I got my backpack out of storage, and beginning in January, I plan to stash a gallon bottle of water in the pack, and see if I can walk around the block. (A great tip I read once — use water to weight a practice pack, that way, if you get too tired or sore, you can dump the water to lighten the pack. There will be no dance classes that first week in January, so if I destroy my feet carrying that extra weight, I’ll have plenty of time to recuperate before I need to use them again.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Getting and Getting Rid Of

Tomorrow is Super Saturday, a day that rivals Black Friday for total number of sales. An estimated 126 million people will be shopping tomorrow. I won’t be one of them. If I am not comatose from exhaustion (I spent most of today working on clearing out stuff from my storage unit) I will be spending tomorrow in the storage unit again seeking more punishment.

I hadn’t realized the irony until this very second — tomorrow, 126 million people will be getting stuff, and I will be getting rid of stuff. (Or maybe that isn’t irony. Maybe it’s balance, but there is no way I can get rid of enough stuff to balance out all the new purchases everyone will be making, so I’ll stick with “irony.”)

It’s an interesting experience revisiting possessions I haven’t seen in so long. I’m finding things I didn’t know I kept, which to me is an indication that I should get rid of them since obviously, I have no real attachment to the items. On the other hand, I can’t find things I am positive I saved. Yikes.

I’m also repacking boxes that have gotten smashed from too much weight sitting on top of them for two and a half years. So much fun!

I hope your pre-Christmas weekend is as exciting as mine.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Moving Energy Around

Certain theories of energy, particularly as pertains to the energy of the human body, state that moving energy around through mental visualization or other means can help or hinder a person. For example, upward moving energy puts us out of sorts — revving us up, screwing us up, making us uptight. Downward moving energy, on other the other hand, brings us down to earth, calms us down.

Ever since my sister came to help take care of our aging father, she has been insistent on moving energy around, not in us so much as in the house. To that end, she has lit candles, done a thorough cleaning (including windows!), rearranged things, even rearranged lives. (It’s her efforts that got my dysfunctional brother packed and in the car so I could drive him back to Colorado.) Lately I’ve been sweeping out my past, and she is encouraging me, saying that I’m moving energy around.

I don’t know what, if anything, this movement of energy means or if in fact it is making a difference in any significant way, but it is helping me break ties to some of my “things.” I don’t own much, and what I do own is of little value, but I have a special connection to things I have made, to things my deceased life mate/soul mate appreciated, to pretty boxes and bows. I’ve gotten rid of much of the unnecessary things of his and my shared life, but I’ve kept many things just because someday I might like to have them, but now with my sister’s insistence on moving energy around, I’m finding myself getting rid of things I’d always planned to keep. The things simply no longer seem important. (I wonder if I’m going too far and will later regret getting rid of so much, but the truth is, whatever I keep will have to be stored or moved multiple times since I won’t have a permanent place to live.)

One thing I haven’t gotten rid of yet is his ashes, though they too no longer seem important.

I never had any plans to keep his ashes, but a minister friend once cautioned against getting rid of them all. Apparently, people come to regret such a move. Since I didn’t like the idea of opening the box and separating out a bit of him, and since I couldn’t bring myself to throw him away, I’ve simply kept the box intact. But now I think I should be moving the energy around. It’s not his energy in that box/urn, of course — he’s been gone for almost four and a half years. It’s not my energy either, as far as I know. I don’t have much emotion invested his remains anymore, don’t even really think about them, but they are always present.

Right after his death, getting rid of those “cremains” would have broken what was left of my heart because they were all I had left of him. But they are not him. I know he wouldn’t have wanted me to keep them. Well, for that matter, I don’t particularly want to keep them, either, but whenever I’ve considered getting rid of them, the thought assumed such importance that I felt better off leaving them where they are.

I can see the time is coming to move that energy around, to throw out what is, in essence, inorganic matter without any particular meaning. Strangely, I’m even beginning to feel uneasy having his cremains around, as if I’m holding onto a desiccated corpse.

I wish he were here, wish I could talk to him, wish I could show him the things I made or wrote and see his slow sweet smile of appreciation, wish I could go home to him. But none of that will ever happen. So even though I know he would not like my tossing out so much of what I have made, I remind myself he no longer has a say in my life, and I keep moving energy around.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Cleaning up the Past

Many people I know seem to be suddenly delving into their past — getting DNA results to see their ancestry, trying to trace their family trees, or even doing past life regressions.

At one time I was interested in my roots, even kept a few notes from conversations with my parents, but now, I don’t really care. Since I know who my parents were to a small extent, where they came from, what their medical history is, I realize I have the luxury of not caring. Those who don’t know their parents, such as adoptees, lack that luxury.

My non-caring is more than simply indulging in such luxury, though. It’s about being who I am, not who I am in relation to who I used to be or in relation to everyone around me, but who I am right now. Today. This minute. Once I was a newborn, a child, an adolescent, a young adult, a part of a couple. Today . . . none of that matters. None of those permutations seem to have anything to do with me, as if somewhere, light years behind me, each of those people still has some sort of existence separate from me.

I started shredding my past yesterday, and continued with the exercise today. Things that once were important no longer seem to have any meaning at all. I have a hunch it’s because whoever I was in that past is gone. I am changed beyond anything that erstwhile “I” would recognize.

This disconnect with the past began when my life mate/soul mate died. (He was only 63. Seems so very young!) And somehow taking my dysfunctional brother back to Colorado finished the disconnect. For the past four years I’ve felt as if somehow I was born anew. Back then, I was born into the world of grief, but now? Maybe I’m becoming who I was always meant to be. Whatever that is.

I will keep a lot of stuff, of course. Someday I will have to settle down, and it will be good to have essentials such as pots and pans and towels, perhaps even some fripperies to remind me of my past. Or not. Without a special someone to love, without something to hang on to, I might just be blowing in the wind.

For whatever reason, it feels good to be getting rid of things. Very cleansing. Periodically, I consider getting rid of everything I own, and maybe someday I will do so. But not today.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.