Sunday Lifestyle

The Magic of Letting Go

FROM MY HEART - Barbara Gonzalez Ventura - The Philippine Star

Last week I wrote about the moves that face me now. There are many details I didn’t write about. One of them is what to do with the two beds in my guest room. When I bought them they seemed perfect for my British son-in-law. I bought two because they were going to be three in the guest room. But those visits are over. I am moving out. I don’t know what to do with the beds.

 Last Sunday the priest whom I do not know talked about his project with refugees and his needing household things for them.  Immediately I thought of my two beds. I will donate them to the refugees.  Then I know they will really help some people who need more comfort in their lives.

“Maybe you can sell them,” one of my friends said. He got me thinking: What’s more valuable to me — the money I get or the comfort the beds can give? I felt a tug at my heart. I will be more satisfied with the comfort I give.

Sayang,” my friend said. “They’re perfectly good beds. You can keep them.”

“But I will have no room for them,” I said. I can let them go. I have had tremendous practice in letting good things go.

At the end of my first marriage I surrendered everything to my husband. Later he sold the house and kept every cent. I lived with my parents and went back to work. That’s how I supported my family. Later on I entered into another relationship. We just lived together. At the end of that relationship I also left the big Forbes Park house with very little furniture. That man told me I could bring all our portraits. He was initially so in love with me that he had me, my mother and my children painted by Aguilar-Alcuaz.

I left the Forbes Park mansion and moved into a three-bedroom bungalow. Later we moved to a condominium. It was so small that I had to take the paintings off their frames and put them on top of my closet.  Eventually I migrated to the United States and left my oldest daughter to sell all our things. She forgot about the paintings and left them behind.  Nothing I could do so I let go.

When I returned the former manager of the condominium called and offered me my full-length portrait for P45,000. I was so angry. “But the painting is mine,” I said. He hung up. Apparently when they checked my apartment after my daughter left he had found all those paintings and was selling them to whoever would buy them. I heard that my full-length portrait, which was beautiful but did not look like me, was sold as the debutante portrait of my oldest daughter. I don’t know if that’s true or just gossip. So I lost them all. I let go of all the precious family portraits.

That man gave me a lot of diamond jewelry to cover up for his infidelities. Then one day he talked me into putting them in a safety deposit box in the US. When we parted, I had no money so I couldn’t fly to the States to get them. In the end he returned them to me but by then I decided to let them go, too. I sold them and all the rest of my real jewelry to help rebuild our lives.

I find now that I have to say good-bye to my big beautiful flat that I love. I know I still love it and I will for a long time. But I must move on. I now have a smaller albeit more complete life. I am married once more, no longer alone. As I begin to pack and dispose of my things, I realize that the most important thing I’ve learned is mastery of the act of letting go.

What is that? I have learned to love and cherish my memories.  Whenever I watch a movie and I see a woman buying a Christmas tree and lugging it home, I remember Panjee and me giggling and laughing as we lugged a Christmas tree home to our apartment in Burlingame in the US and the wonderful Christmas that followed it. I remember the stars in all our eyes as our little baby Pow opened his first gift. I remember all the joy, the laughter, the love that we had for each other then and that we continue to have now.

 I think that life teaches us how to live, how to say hello and good-bye when the time comes, how to let go with grace. Think about this: I remember the jewelry I once had, how it looked on my finger, how I enjoyed wearing it. That memory makes me smile. That smile is enough for me. I hope that the person who has it now enjoys it as much. That is the real magic of letting go.

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