Going Past Resistance

Sometimes when clutter busting, you come upon something that you see is no longer part of your life, but you feel resistance to letting it go. The attachment feeling is strong. It might make you feel tired, or you might experience a rush of adrenalin, or you may space out. At this point you want to go and check email, or watch TV, or eat something, or do any other activity that is not clutter busting.

When I'm working with someone, I help them through the attachment experience by asking them further questions about the thing, or I talk about how it's making them look out of sorts, or I make light of it. This gets them over the hump and they move on to the next thing.

But if you're working by yourself, it might be hard to continue. What might help is knowing that there are things in your living space that are part of your life now that are being obscured by this thing. This clutter diminishes your experience of the things that matter to you now. Deciding to let them go will help you enjoy the things in your life that you love.

I was working with someone yesterday in her apartment. She had so much stuff in her living room that there was no place to sit down and relax. When we started going through the things, she had strong resistance to letting go. She had an emotional connection to many of the items. When I asked her if she liked them, she didn't want to answer. I could see the turbulence in her.

One of the objects was a Bible a friend had given her years ago. It was still wrapped in plastic. She wanted to put it to the side and not talk about it. I said her place would continue to look the way it did unless she made decisions. She said she didn't want it, but her friend gave it to her and she was afraid it would hurt her friend if she let it go. I told her that her first priority was to herself and that continuing to live the way she did hurt and restricted her peace of mind and health. I asked her what she wanted. She said that she wanted to relax in her home. I said the way to do that was to let go of the things that made her tense and unhappy. She thought about it for a second. She was very present. She let the Bible go.

There were a few more objects that had a similar hold on her. We asked about them in the same way and she let them go. After that it became natural and easy for her to decide.