I'm busy scanning my bookshelves and closets to find items for our Circle Book Swap this Sunday when I encounter a large plastic tote box tucked into a corner. It's full of old scrapbook pages, newspaper clippings, flyers and other memorabilia from the 80's and 90's, when I was still crisscrossing the country as a musician and workshop leader. This box hasn't been opened in years, and as I pry off the lid and smell the accumulated mustiness, it's odd to see so many images of a much younger Rudi smiling up at me.
OBSERVING THE PAST
In the spirit of Spring Cleaning, I know if should chuck out the whole thing; just dump the contents sight unseen into the recycle bin and be done with it. But I'm way too curious to do that, so here I sit, sorting through page after page of old photos and papers. Watching as my hairstyles and wardrobe changed over two decade of headshots; chuckling at the pumped-up verbiage of old press releases proclaiming my virtues as a post-punk, New Thought troubadour and performance artist - and wondering how the heck I ever thought that was going to lead to wide-spread success. And, yes, shedding more than few tears as I re-read old fan mail from folks who've long since died or drifted out of view.
Doing my best to let go of as many of these accumulated pieces of paper as possible, I toss dozens of old church bulletins, fundraiser programs and concert posters, fistfuls of yellowing newspaper clippings, contracts and set lists. But, wait...I can't throw away these last remaining copies of "Por Nada", my vinyl single released in 1980. And certainly not my recording contract with Horizons Unlimited in London. Or my first published article in the Whole Life Times. Or that thank you note from Jean Houston...
And so it goes, this process of sorting things into piles, deciding what to shred, save or share with loved ones. Fortunately, Zet and Mateo have been very patient with the fact that I've commandeered our dining room table for the past 3 days, while I float through this sea of memories at a leisurely pace, reviewing these physical reminders of the many choices, challenges and changes that occurred more than twenty years ago, but helped bring me to where I am today.
It's been such a wonderful trip down memory lane that I wound up keeping enough pages to fill a small plastic bin. But, hey, it's less than 1/6th the size of the original giant tote box. That's progress, I tell myself. More than that, this has been a valuable reminder that the process of personal and spiritual growth is anything but linear. That "the future" I'd once spent so much time and effort planning and praying for seldom turned out to be what I expected - but was also much richer than anything I could possibly have imagined.
Which is a good reminder to relax and stop worrying so much about getting where I "should" go tomorrow, and staying focused on enjoying the ride today.