A while ago, my friend moved to Seattle, from her home back east, for the summer, to live with her partner in his very sparsely furnished house. When she first moved there, she thought she would miss all the things she had left behind. By the end of the summer, though, she realized she loved this new minimalism. She hadn’t missed her possessions at all.

My friend and her sweetheart are getting married, which is a lovely ending to this story of a cross-country journey. However, the thought of having to go back to her old place and deal with all the stuff she owned there was keeping her up at night.

She said, in part: “I’m dreading getting sucked back in to physical clutter that grabs at me and pulls me in. I wonder if I’ll be able to allow myself to let go of things once they’re right in front of me.”

Here’s my response to her (with many thanks to my friend for letting me share her story with you here):

How wonderful that you came out to Seattle to spend the summer, and are now clear that this is where you belong! There’s something so magical and miraculous about finding that kind of steady, I’m-at-home-here kind of love. I’m so happy for you! :-)

Also wonderful that you’ve had this experience of living without your stuff, and really feeling spacious and light and at ease.

What would happen if you took that feeling of spaciousness back with you, when it’s time to return to your old place to pack and move? As a benchmark. So that when you meet your stuff again, you can do it with a feeling of openness and ease in your heart. Really let yourself experience which of the things you own support that inner expansiveness, and which ones constrict your heart.

Let that be your guide, to help you choose which things to keep, and which to release into the world to serve someone else’s dream of home.

You can honor the things that have served you, and release them with love and thankfulness. Your stuff is not your adversary. These are things you once loved, that have loved and served you well. So meet them as old friends, to say hello and goodbye.

You can also honor the You that will emerge from these months in Seattle, before you go back east to pack and move. You aren’t the same person who left there in the spring. And you won’t be the same person when you return there in the summer, as you are right now.

You can do some of this inner work before you go. Take your energy back from your old home, your old neighborhood, and your old possessions. Draw your energy back into your heart, so you can be fully present in your new home and your new life.

Bless your old home, and its contents. Ask for pathways to open so that each thing you own there moves freely, easily and lovingly to its rightful owner (which may or may not be you). See those paths opening and the flow of grace carrying each thing to where it belongs. See those objects nourishing the life of their new owners, bringing comfort, ease and joy wherever they go.

And feel into the things that truly still belong to you. Maybe not forever, maybe for a short or a long time. Your choices don’t have to make logical sense-just trust yourself, and your inner feeling of spaciousness and peace to guide you. Know that these qualities are within you. They won’t vanish.

This is an opportunity to be in right relationship with your past as well as your present. Both of which are evolving, changing stories that you shape with your intention and your will.

You may find that there are things you want in your new home in Seattle, once you’re living there permanently, that you don’t want right now. Or not.

I wish you so much goodness and joy in your new life. And ease and grace in your move.

What about you? When it’s time to say goodbye to your past, what comes up for you? Let’s talk about loving and leaving . . .