Along with the moving forward into who we want to be/the life we want to live and letting go of the past, there’s also the reclaiming what was lost.  Many people miss this part of the procedure and end up with empty spaces or regrets or simply a feeling of loss.  Others make themselves feel bad because they think they are clinging onto the past as if letting go is an all or nothing proposition.  It try to help people see that “take what you want and leave the rest” includes our past as well.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water and alla that.

For example, most of us have what seem like silly pangs after a breakup.  Yes, there’s the emotions around the loss of the person, of the relationship, of what could have been, but there’s also the loss of things which came to mean something to us personally.  Their loss leaves a space unfilled or an ache.  After one breakup I got mad at myself for missing things that went with him so instead of trying to force my feelings to be different or to work my way through letting go, I went out and bought myself the identical things: a book I’d just bought for him and had barely started reading, the exact same dishes and almost identical glasses.  Petty? Maybe if you squint at it one way. But on the other it was an act of validation, self-care, and forward movement.  I read the book, was able to work through a bit more of my relationship grieving, come to the conclusion that I didn’t need to keep it, and sold it for almost the amount I paid for it.  The dishes worked for me and went great with my new kitchen.  When I got a new kitchen they didn’t any more and I gifted them to someone who needed them. I still have the glasses.  They don’t really remind me of the relationship any more, although I’m aware of their history. Which is pretty much how I feel about all of it now.  It’s healed and it’s history.

Reclaiming isn’t just about breakups.  We are finite beings and so we have to make decisions about how we’re going to spend our finite time in any given day.  We prioritize things into short/medium/long-term and there are times when we choose to put aside what we would rather do in order to do something else that’s important.  Hence adults how get married and/or have children usually have a shelf somewhere in the back of their minds where they have stored all those dreams, desires, and possibilities for someday.  Reclaiming is something we can do at any time by prioritizing one of those boxes.  Even just prioritizing some time to go through and reacquaint ourselves with the boxes.  Reclaiming is also about missed experiences.  I and a few of my friends went to see Rick Springfield in concert because it was something we had missed as kids and now we had a chance to reclaim that thrill.  And I think it was better this way as we could add the enjoyment of a long delayed pleasure attained and revel in a return to silliness for just a moment.

Just because something didn’t happy in the time frame we expected or in the way we wanted doesn’t mean that it isn’t important or that we can’t have it.  Part of having the life we want is reclaiming the bits that for one reason or another got left behind or left undone. Reclaiming is about healing and creating wholeness.  But it also propels us forward on our path in a delightful way, no hard work required.