Today, I took a trek to Mentryville, a ghost town in the Santa Clarita area. I was doing a preliminary scout for a project awaiting funding. As I walked around the abandoned buildings, it was apparent to me that inside of us, we often carry around an inner ghost town. What outdated structures (beliefs, habits) have we not cleared? What projects have we abandoned? What dreams did we have to leave behind when our hope dried up?
So often a ghost town develops when a resource is depleted or an industry moves away. Mentryville is dubbed “California’s First Oil Boom Town”. Today, I was challenged to look at the ways I’ve been depleted. I was also challenged to assess how much I’ve been holding on to “yesterday” instead of looking ahead, how the winds have shifted in my life and how my inner and outer landscape has changed.
Of course, the idea of a ghost town, implies a lack of life. A ghost town is populated by ghosts, the dead who have unfinished business. The ghost towns of our psyches are where we have unfinished business–the unsaid, the stuff we wish we had or hadn’t done. The inner ghost town is the unanswered questions of our pain that we replay and revisit looking for answers that may never satisfy. Instead of going over and over again what could and should have been, it’s more profitable to clear the structures that are falling down. Too often, stasis feels safe, when it’s really what’s diminishing our possibilities. Everything and everyone has their time and place in our lives. Sometimes a controlled demolition of our inner ghost town is necessary.