Another Way of Lightening Up

Emptiness, while by definition a negative, is not always bad.


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Getting rid of excess, whether weight or possessions, brings an incredible exuberance, vitality and spaciousness into one’s life. That was the lesson I learned this weekend when I finally let go of something I had cherished for a very long time.

Years ago when I was living in Chevy Chase, Maryland, I saw a Chinese Art Deco rug in a shelter magazine and fell in love. It was a deep magenta with floral designs in its corners, so simple and yet so elegant. I cut the picture out and filed it, all the while keeping an eye out for one in department stores and rug shops. Then one Saturday afternoon I found it: a magnificent rich magenta rug with blue and brown floral borders. We repainted our living room a blush pink and the rug anchored the room.

When I moved to New York over 10 years ago, I of course brought it with me. But time changes us and the rug no longer fit my apartment’s color scheme nor my lifestyle. Cats and rugs don’t get along well with the rug taking the brunt of abuse.

When I repainted my bedroom, I decided to banish my beloved rug to my basement storage unit. Then maybe a year ago, I realized how crazy it was to keep the rug, just sitting in a caged prison, with no hope of seeing the light of day. It seemed like a waste. I brought it back to the apartment and put it in the corner of my study, fully intending to sell it. Instead, it sat and sat and sat. Finally, after making some inquiries at rug shops, I found a dealer who was interested and this past weekend, he bought it.

I loved that rug even as I saw it being hauled away. We had had a good run together. But now it was time for someone else to love and appreciate it.

Beyond the check I received (remember I’m working on my finances this year!), the biggest thrill for me is seeing the empty corner in my study. Each time my eye rests there, my spirit just soars. 

In the early '80s, Milan Kundera wrote a philosophical novel called The Unbearable Lightness of Being. And while my rug saga has nothing to do with the premise of that book, I can’t help tweaking the title to explain the feeling I have. Having let go of a beloved object, I feel no loss or sadness, rather I feel excitement, spaciousness and an incredible lightness of being.

Emptiness, while by definition a negative, is not always bad.

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