If you happen to love physical books as much as I do, then be prepared to gasp at what I’m about to share with you.
Recently I mustered up the courage to do the unthinkable.
I placed my entire collection of books into a pile.
The books that I’ve been collecting for years,
the books that I love the most,
the books that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet,
the books that I started but never quite finished,
the books that I enjoy reading again and again,
the books that I reference whenever I need a dose of inspiration,
the design books that I simply love to look at…
all of these books went into the (ready for it?)… donation pile.
Ha. You thought I was going to say the burn pile. Heavens no! That really would be gasp-worthy!
Why would I ever do such a thing?
A little backstory first. When I was a child, starting at around age 7 or so, I developed asthma and allergies so bad that sometimes I would sleep in an oxygen tent just so that I could breathe. Every spring my friends would all go outside to play while I was stuck indoors. And each time that darned school recess bell rang I trotted myself down to the office, plopped into a chair, and did what? Read books, of course.
At home my treasured collection of dust-collecting teddy bears, all of whom I had named and grown quite attached to, were unceremoniously shoved into giant black plastic garbage bags and carted off to an undisclosed location. At some later date in the summer, when I could finally breathe again, I was reunited with my long lost furry friends. Oh, the joy!
I tell you this story so that you can understand how my books, like my teddy bears, may be doing more harm than good. Yes, I do store my books inside of glass cabinets to minimize the dust. Keeping them well protected, however, apparently isn’t quite good enough. Not for me, at least.
I recently learned that, through no fault of my parents, my particular genetic makeup leaves me ultra-sensitive to microscopic, biotoxic particles in the air. We can’t see them, but we do know they like to travel around on, you guessed it, dust. Dust then lands on paper. Paper absorbs what’s on the dust. I crack open an old book and voila! Biotoxin exposure.
Don’t worry. Not everyone is as sensitive as I am. If you don’t have a multitude of auto-immune conditions in your family, or, as I understand it, a history of mental illness, then you’re probably safe to continue visiting as many book fairs as your book-loving heart desires.
How does this all pertain to you, then? The lesson I learned in all of this was rather surprising. Not only did I begrudgingly let go of all the books that I’d collected over the years. I let go of the notion that I was still a woman who collects books.
Now that might not seem like such a big deal. And I won’t go so far as to say that being a book collector was part of my identity. But, just like an artist collects art supplies, having a cabinet full of memories was a part of what made me, me.
The lesson? I expected that saying goodbye to my non-furry friends would be a rather painful process. Turns out, letting go was refreshingly liberating. Losing what I thought was a little piece of me wasn’t a loss at all. It was freedom.
So, dear parent, that was my long-winded way of getting to my question. What little piece of you (that isn’t really you) can you let go of in your own life?
For instance, are you a parent who believes that schools should have all of the answers in order to help your struggling learner? Is part of who you are wrapped up in being a fierce advocate, fighting the good fight for your child no matter what the cost? What would happen if you let go of that idea? What if, instead, you decided to find the answers for yourself? Seek help, yes, but take the reins into your own hands. There is freedom in that.
I am by no means advocating giving up, by the way. I’m simply asking, what if?
Or, do you believe that your child is doomed to a lifetime of learning difficulties? What if, instead, you believed that you have the power to help remove those challenges? There is freedom in that, too.
Inner Pieces Gallery is here to help you on your journey. For now, I have a store full of therapeutic educational materials that you can explore at any time. But here’s a little secret for ya! Currently I’m on a journey of my own, ridding my life of all of my potentially toxic possessions. (Yep, that means the house has got to go, too. Yikes!) Once I’m settled, which I hope happens early in 2017, I intend to start creating a collection of training videos that help put the power of learning back into parents’ hands.
That’s right. I’m stepping into a new role. Did I ever think of myself as a woman who puts herself in front of the camera instead of behind it? Nope. And then I asked, what if? There is freedom in that, for me and I hope for you and your struggling learner as well. Please stay tuned! More exciting learning opportunities are on their way.