If you had the power to let go of one thing that's been holding you back, what would it be? Would it be a physical object that's cluttered your physical space as well as your mind? Or would it be an emotion that has an uncomfortable hold on your psyche? My mum and I asked ourselves these questions as we searched the house for something to bring to David Best's 'Temple' exhibition, which visited Derry recently.
David Best is an artist who creates intricate, awe-inspiring sculptures, only to burn them to the ground days later. His work features at the Burning Man festival each year, and somehow, a sculpture of his ended up in little ol' Derry. Visitors were encouraged to bring a meaningful object to 'The Temple'. They could then place it in the structure, strangely comforted by the fact that the structure would soon be burnt to the ground.
My mum brought along a diary she wrote when she was 13. She tells me was full of self-pity and teenage angst. I, on the other hand, am far too sentimental to willingly destroy one of my old diaries, no matter how embarrassing they may be. Instead, I simply wrote down 'self-doubt' on a piece of paper, to symbolically say goodbye to the part of my consciousness that's hell-bent on holding me back.
Walking inside the Temple, which was eerily peaceful despite being packed with people, I looked at what others had left behind. Many left pictures of lost loved-ones. It's not that they want to forget their past loves, just like my mum doesn't want to forget her 13 year old self that made her into the person she is today. It's just a touching way to say 'we are thinking of you', while letting go of grief.
The most surprising item that I came across was a journal with a note attached. The note declared that the diary documented a 8 year relationship of domestic abuse that had finally ended. The victim left it there as a symbolic end, a goodbye, to a tortured past.
The whole experience got me thinking about the things we hold on to, even though it would be better if we let go. I'll be the first to admit, I'm a hoarder. I never want to let go of any of my physical possessions. But what if I'm hoarding the intangible too? Holding on to negative emotions and thoughts? Scared to let go because at least it's something to cling to? I don't need a burning temple to let go of what's dragging me down. Perhaps, simply by pinpointing the negative emotions at play, I can take steps in replacing them with more constructive thoughts.
So, what have you been holding onto for too long?