Saturday I worked with a client in her home. She needed help clutter busting her home office. When I walked into the room my attention was drawn to a stack of old musty smelling cardboard boxes against the far right wall. I said, "Let's start here." There was a look in her face of dread. It was the look of resistance. I knew I'd picked the right place.
We sat on the floor and opened the first box. There were a lot of old journals that she wrote in high school over twenty years ago. I asked if she wanted them or if she could let them go. She seemed to shrink and tears filled her eyes. She said that she didn't know. I asked her to open one and read and see how she felt. She did. She looked even more sad. I said that she remembered how good it felt to express herself in the journals. Those memories made her want to hang onto the journals even though she didn't read them anymore or have the desire to reread them. She still seemed uncertain.
I had to take a different tactic. She had a black cat. It's name was "Huck". I said, "What about Huck? Do you like him or can we let him go?" She was startled. She said, "I want Huck!" I said, "That certainty you feel about Huck is the feeling when something is a part of your life. You don't doubt it. You know."
She got it and tossed the journals.