In northern Minnesota, fall is spectacular. The deciduous plants change into a wardrobe of neon color, and when the winter wind comes and combs the earth’s hair, it all falls away. We often say, “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let go”. The trees have to let go of their leaves in order to make room for the next season.

I have had many opportunities lately to understand the benefits of making space for the next thing. Due to the financial impact of cancer, I had to move out of my home and rent it to someone else. Now I live in a 14 x 18 rustic cabin in the woods, and I love it! I had no idea I was making such a positive move––I had to let go of one thing in order for the next thing to happen.

I recently had to let go of something very dear to me: my piano. It became clear that there was not enough room in my tiny home to justify keeping such a large instrument. Still, I struggled with the change. I had so much attachment to its history in my life. Its wood-bodied emotional resonance had supported me through many difficult times. It was part of my identity. When the piano left, I wept.

Once the piano was gone, however, my living space changed in an amazing way. There was so much more room! Whole windows were unblocked and my view expanded. I exchanged my couch for a sofa bed and now, because there is room to open the bed, my children and friends can visit overnight. Then a wise friend offered me a small, portable instrument––a ukulele. And I unexpectedly came upon an old saxophone in a storage closet. The benefits of change just kept piling up!

The most surprising shift came when I rearranged the furniture. Some stuff just didn’t fit right, some things had to go away, other things came in. I added a cabinet that had a good top for my plants. I had no idea what would go in that cabinet, but held space for whatever that needed to be. It turned out to be the perfect place for an altar. In all my moving around, I haven’t had an altar for several years.

An altar is very personal. I place objects, words, pictures, candles, herbs there––things that help me stay focused on my healing and my purpose. The items vary over time, just like my process. I spend some time each day seated before the altar meditating. I keep the doors open when I’m home alone. I close the doors when I have guests, to keep the energy clean and unscrutinized by others’ curiosity.

So much enrichment in my life! And all because I was willing to give up the known for the unknown. I made room. I held space and allowed the Universe to move through. So beautiful.