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“Making Meaning” When You Move

Joined: 11/9/2011
Posts: 23
There are all kinds of feelings that are kicked up around the word “home” and moving can be an emotional experience. When you’re moving to a new home, it’s easy to get caught up in the activity, stress and deadlines, which doesn’t leave much time or space for introspection. But, think of all the memories you’ve created in this home! Take the time to honor those while in the midst of your move.

In my last house, I had a special connection to my herb garden. When we moved, I planned to take the French lavender plant with me. It was the most fragrant, hardy lavender I’ve ever had. But the move was mid-March so I wasn’t able to take the plant. The buyers weren’t the type who would want me digging around in the garden later in the spring. I still miss that plant eight years later.

How Do You Start Preserving Memories?

There are all kinds of methods to preserve memories – photos, scrapbooks and writing in a journal are a few. But where do you start? Quinn McDonald is a certified creativity coach, writer, and designer of training programs in writing and journaling. Also an accomplished artist, she combined these talents in her book, “Raw Art Journaling: Making Meaning, Making Art.” I asked McDonald her thoughts about capturing the memories of your home before you leave. She suggests starting by identifying those feelings you want to explore.

• “Explore why you’re leaving this house – a divorce? Is the house too small for an expanding family? Are you relocating? Most moves are big mixed emotions – happy, anger, disappointment, responsibility. Make a list of your feelings and put them in a sentence. ‘Divorce was painful, but I’m
moving to a place where I can make new memories.’ These phrases can be used for headlines in your journal.”

• “Next comes the decision of how you want to take the memories with you.” Besides journaling, McDonald suggests photos, an art journal or even going digital with a slide show. “How about incorporating comments from neighbors, family and friends in a video?”

• Taking dried leaves or flowers, or making leaf prints will offer memories. “You can even make rubbings of things in the house, like the tile floor or the patio.”

A Moving Memento for a Friend

McDonald made a thoughtful goodbye gift for a friend. “When my friend moved, I gathered stems of plants from her garden, made homemade paper from them and bound them into a journal. In another case, I created a collage from take-out menus from the old neighborhood. I used it as a book cover for an album of favorite recipes contributed by the woman’s friends. It was a sure way to be reminded of her friends when she used the recipes in her new home.”

Hopefully, you’re now inspired to create your own means to hold memories from your home as you prepare to pack the moving truck and move into the next life phase in your new home.

Quinn McDonald has lived in 13 states. Her most recent move was a cross-country transplant from Washington, D.C. to Arizona.
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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
I just wanted to let you know that we featured your essay on the Stage of Life Facebook page today. If you would like to check it, out go to Feel free to share the news with your friends and family. You're famous! :)
Posted: Monday, December 19, 2011 2:22:52 PM
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