Moving On Out

By Steve Hart

This week was the last I got to spend in the house I grew up in. We spent 26 years in our home that we designed and built from scratch, customized to fit the needs of a young family with three boys. Everything in there was ours, the dents in the walls, the smell of the rooms, the color paint and artwork that hung. It was all a reflection of us. Now, I was only 4 years old when we moved into the house, so I didn’t have much say in how it was designed, but nonetheless I claimed the place as mine and held it as a refuge, a home, for 26 years.

For the last 3.5 years the house played an extra role, a connection to my late mother. She was the homemaker in the family as my dad worked long hours most of my life. Every square inch of that house she either decorated, cleaned, or repaired and it remained so until this month. The same art that she selected still hung, her things left untouched, and her presence felt in the walls of each room. I understand that a house is just a house, but this house didn’t feel like just a house. It felt like the last physical connection to my mom, and as of this week, it is gone.

My father had been living in this house since the passing of my mom over 3 years ago, a house for a family of 5 and he lived in it alone. We knew that one day he would need a new place to live, and as his children we supported him through the process of making the decision. We put on a good face for him and believed what he was doing was the right thing to do, but that didn’t change how difficult the process would be.

From the very moment my dad told me that he wanted to sell the house and move to northern California I started to prepare myself for the process. I decided first and foremost that my dad’s wellbeing was the most important thing, and I had to be supportive in whatever he decides is best for him, regardless of my personal feelings. I had a strong attachment to that house and I foresaw a challenging path of letting go in my near future. At this point I made a choice. I decided that I will let go of the house and feel all of the emotions that come up in that process, but I will not resist them. In my yoga practice I have learned that resistance is the cause of suffering, not emotion. Sadness is apart of life, but resistance to sadness is unnecessary.

With this approach the process was relatively easy up until the last day, the day in which I had to say goodbye to my childhood, to the last physical connection to my mom, to my escape and sanctuary. When the time came to leave for the last time, I took a moment to walk into each room and allow whatever memories of that room flow through me, express gratitude for those memories, and say goodbye. It was an incredibly painful process, my body felt weak, my face dripping in tears, my voice a mere crackle. Instead of resisting this pain I let it run through me, felt it in my body. It was a beautiful experience, one of the more profound I had ever felt. I felt the sadness, loved the sadness, and allowed the sadness to be a form of gratitude for the love I had for all the time spent in that house with my family.

As I drove away towards the airport I felt the intense sadness slip away into a more subtle poignancy, and eventually into acceptance. It was over, I was exhausted, but so grateful for the last experience to say goodbye to the space that allowed me to grow as I did. I can now rest assured that the house will hold the same space for the next family that moves in, and I can focus on my own space that I have created for myself and help my dad do the same for himself.

As I look back and review this process that I went through, I realized how far I have come over the last few years, in large part due to my regular yoga practice and commitment to the lifestyle. In years past, I would have had a much harder time letting go of the house, would have acted selfishly and fought to save the place I grew up and loved. I would have lost that fight, caused my dad much anguish, and put myself through immense suffering. Instead, I applied the lessons learned on the mat, of letting go, of impermanence, of surrendering to the inevitable, and the experience of moving out of my house was beautiful and profound. I am beyond grateful for this real world experience to practice my yoga, and how amazing a process it was. While I don’t look forward to the next challenge of this sort that I’ll have to face, I am confident I can move through it with ease and grace.
Home Park City


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