Moving on

This year I became 90 and I observe how the past several years have seen a great deal of stripping away: letting go of our home of 40 years in Wales; moving from the London flat where my partner, Hywel Jones, and I lived for some 50 years; getting rid of many items of furniture, thousands of books, scores of pictures, endless boxes of china, antiques, toys and curios.

And then, ironically, having to let go of my companion of 54 years, who died of a brain tumour.

This is not an argument to say we should have no possessions, many of which carry memories of key moments in our lives, but rather to realise that everything we have is a gift and there comes a time when the gift must move on. If we cling to things or to people we cannot move forward.

And so it is in the deep silence of meditation that we move forward when we are willing to let go and descend into the emptiness. In fact it is not emptiness — when we go deep enough we find pure being-ness. It is like those trees in autumn which, after their final blaze of colour, shed all their leaves and are revealed in their essence, trunk and branches against the sky. Still the roots go deep into the ground and the sap remains.

12 thoughts on “Moving on”

  1. James,
    As usual, I treasure your postings. I particularly respond to “the sap remains.” I often feel like “the sap”, as I remain at 88 years. Perhaps I can take some solace in knowing that there is still potential life-giving properties within the sap, even in my dotage.
    I have now turned to humor and have published two volumes of lImericks in order to survive the current political scene here (100 LIMERICKS FOR 100 DAYS OF TRUMP and WHIMSICAL LIMERICKS IN THE AGE OF TRUMP; FROM ALL SIDES OF THE POLIITICAL DIVIDE)

  2. I have a profound appreciation of all your blogs and the enthusiastic anticipation with which I open them is always rewarded.
    This one arrived at exactly the right moment. Not a time of crisis, but as I am trying to explore more deeply the meaning to me of letting go in this period my life, downsizing my home, handing on possessions, moving to a new area as a widow not a wife, adjusting to having a bit less energy, thinking about how to refocus how and where I invest it. But reading and contemplating this new blog I feel my eyes and my heart opening up to the positive possibilities for growth and change as I divest myself of things. Thank you, James

  3. This has resonated, James, noting some of us who are commenting and no doubt many more, much like each person writing to the newspaper represented 400 others who wished to write. Let me join these two comments to say your words are timely for me as well, and as always, but especially for this moment inspire and reconcile me. Resonant of the Trump situation for one commentator but on a personal matter, I have just retired from a precarious teaching position having survived more than two decades remarkably, and along with the abuse of precarious work, I was lost 4.25 years on my pension because of misrepresentation and institutional abuse when changing colleges. I should point out, the huge other side of this is I had a most rewarding, fulfilling and rich time spent in the classroom teaching, and more, learning from my students. Because of precarity though, I could only deal with the pension years I was early on cheated from at the end of my career, but then it was too late legally to rectify my status, and morally the institution didn’t care. I worked really hard and the least I deserved was the full number of pension years I am entitled to. You can hear how fresh and raw this is as I retired Thursday. For the last year and a half fighting this and getting no where, I took away the idea of letting go which for my pride and sense of doing things right irked me, and the loss of extra money each month is hard to accept. However, this experience has helped me identify with others who have no pension, or have lost jobs before they retire and lose everything…that’s all good thinking but was kind of in my mind only and emotionally I was angry. Your thoughts so beautifully expressed, reminded me of the better place to be, what my life journey has taught me, as for Mr. Bloom, that journey in to the Self when the external world does not affirm one, means so much more than that external affirmation. And your words in this post so beautifully remind me of that, my life learning, that attention to the soul work is so much more than the possessions of life. As you say, there is nothing so wrong with things and all people need enough of things for life, but they are not Life. Your lovely turn of phrase, that letting go we find being-ness, reminded me exactly how to see my situation, and what you in your writings have taught me. Your 52 Meditations actually have been a guide for my soul through the last year and a half going up against the intransigent, indifferent, power-broker institution. I can now let it go in every way thanks to this post and especially its timeliness. It’s as if you were observing me right now and counselling me!! Thank you, James. As through the years in your writings and your return letters many years ago during the dark night of my soul, you bless me, and so many others no doubt, bless us with your wisdom and words. Bless you and thank you.

  4. I have been struggling with possessions and the parting process. This post made it instantly clear for which I am so grateful. My one remaining problem area is the books, all of which have given me so much over the years, how do I bring myself to part with such a huge part of of my 80years?
    Thank you for your wisdom and long may it continue.

  5. Thank you, James. This sap is not as Richard Rohr says ‘our little self’, but ‘our absolute identity that we are eternally in God.’ Rohr continues: ‘Holiness is wholeness in God and not any private perfection.’

  6. Dear James,

    Your generosity of spirit softens the bleakness of Yeats words, that also speak to coming to our essence from a different point of view: The Coming of Wisdom with Time.

    “Though leaves are many, the root is one;
    Through all the lying days of my youth
    I swayed my leaves and flowers in the sun;
    Now I may wither into the truth.”

    As a previous responder spoke, that truth need not be dry. Thank you for the much juicier expression you offer here.

    May you be enfolded in the blessing you share so graciously. Elizabeth

  7. Now in the middle of discarding ‘stuff’ as we move to a smaller house and, goodness, what a wrenching process this is. Thank you James for your thoughts on this.

  8. Dear Jimmy, I was wondering if you were still at Belsize Park. I always so appreciated your thoughtful generous responses. So grateful to reconnect. There can be a Joy in liberating from possessions. Distilling to essence. Creating space for new. Wishing you continued good health and good fortune. Blessed Be… Cathie Albair

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