Monday, July 9, 2012

7/9/12—Decluttering Our Baggage

Today's Draw: The Edge of Awareness and Unencumbered by Memories from Illuminate Life Journey cards by Linda Clayton. What kind of baggage do you bring into your relationships? Have you ever unfairly judged a current partner based on your experiences with a former partner? How often when you're with your friends or partner are you fully present?

Today is Day Two of "How to Feel More Love in Your Life" week. Today I mindlessly shuffled and chose a card...without the question in mind. So I chose a second card, just to be sure. And both cards—The Edge of Awareness and Unencumbered by Memories—seem to lead me to the same place.

You hear people batting around the word "baggage" a lot when it comes to relationships. The general feeling seems to be that baggage is bad and you shouldn't bring it into any relationship, whether a romantic one or a friendship. Well, here's the thing. We all have baggage. And that baggage makes us who we are today. So it's impossible not to bring it with you. But there is a kind of baggage that stands between us and feeling more love in our lives.

What I think both these cards are getting to is this—former relationships are memories, and memories can sometimes be painful. But the gift of the actions that created those memories are lessons. These lessons can renew and heal our sense of discernment when it comes to choosing new partners. They can help us sort out our boundaries for the next relationship. And they can also clue us into red flags that we might not have seen in the past.

The key is to bring the *lesson* into the next relationship, but not the emotional memory.

I make this distinction, because I think it's important. Lessons empower us and allow us to treat the next person objectively, like an individual. Emotional memories, especially strong ones, whether positive or negative, cause us to make comparisons and assumptions, react inappropriately, take our head out of the now, place expectations on our partner, and not see them for who they are. 

Using the word "memory" might be confusing here. What I mean by that is really the attachment to what went on in the past...memory with palpable pain, joy, whatever behind it, as opposed to "ahhh, what a nice memory, but that was then and this is now" or "ack, what an awful memory, but I learned a great lesson from it."

It's not that you can't hold the memories of, say, a beloved deceased husband, or that you'll ever forget abuse that may have happened as a child. But those memories are for you, not for your relationship. Because those memories aren't ones you shared with the other person, they have nowhere else to land but between the two of you. You're bringing someone else into your relationship. Which is not to say you can't share your memories or deep-seated pain with your partner or friend. They just can't live between the two of you. You need to heal the emotions attached to those memories or they will place a barrier between you and love. Even if they're good memories. The kind I'm talking about carry unhealed emotion. Lessons carry knowledge. Lessons are the baggage to bring into a relationship. Not the emotionally charged memories behind the lessons. 

Also to the point of this week's theme is what it says in the book about The Edge of Awareness. It describes the picture as "a shapeless clashing of colors and emotions...floating, just outside and on the edge." Then it says "are they creeping in, or is she pushing them away?"

This question reminds me of the process of osmosis. In osmosis, a cell membrane will allow inflow and outflow of molecules with the surrounding solution until the concentration or pressure on both sides is equal. This is called dynamic equilibrium.

In the context of our relationships, it's a place where memories, defense mechanisms, boundaries, fears, etc.—all the stuff that gets in the way of a true exchange of love—are in balance. We're neither losing ourselves while our new lover creeps in, as is the case where we're overly needy in a relationship. Nor are we pushing them away, as is the case when we're overly fearful in a relationship. The love and emotion flows freely and in balance.

But in order for that to happen, we need to find a way to enter into our relationships whole and healed. As much as possible. If we look to the new person to heal us, what we exchange between the cell membranes of the relationship creates an unhealthy victim/savior dynamic. We're not fully present for the other person because we're still lost in the memories of someone else and some other time. And if we can't be present, we can't be in that place where we feel love and loved. That only happens in the present. And it only happens in a meaningful way when the person we're with is the person in front of us and not some twisted hybrid of them and every asshole that ever broke our heart.

So to boil it all down, we will feel more love in our current relationships when we can release the emotional attachments to relationships that came before. This works for both friends and lovers. The amount of love we receive in a relationship is directly proportional to our own ability to heal and be present. As long as you're putting your head in the past...or painting others with your past're not being in the present with the person giving you love right now. And that's where the love you're seeking resides...right here, right now.


  1. Tierney, as the publisher of this deck (and author of the book) I can only thank you again for your wonderful, depthful interpretations and thoughtful explorations of the card's' possibilities. We're honored to be included in the Daily Draw!
    Jan Seward, Linda Clayton Productions

  2. Thank you so much, Jan. I really enjoy this deck. :)