Better When It's Simpler

I worked with a client in his home office. There were many piles of papers, magazines and various things on the floor. They also covered his desk and couch. He couldn't relax in the space. He worried that he had made such a mess of things that he couldn't fix it. He was feeling scattered and couldn't sit still.

He had some guitars hanging on the walls. I took one off and made up a song about the clutter. That helped him relax a little. I got out a trash bag and started asking questions about the items on the floor. As it usually goes, many things turned not to be important to him. His anguish began to dissipate as went through the piles.

In the midst of the tossing, he began to get stuck again. His emotions took over. I asked him questions about his life. He told me that he was having problems in his relationship with his wife. I said that he attracted this clutter around him to distract him from the relationship situation which was hurting his heart. "Sometimes when something becomes too much for us, we unconsciously do something for relief. Clutter is distracting. It involves a lot of our attention. It's creating a false problem to cover up the bigger problem. But it doesn't work very well and we end up with two problems. Uncovering the clutter is making you feel those feelings you didn't want to feel about how things are between you and your wife. It's okay they are out. It's best to have clarity so you know what things you can do to help yourself and the situation." He felt better about continuing with the tossing.

When we were done, he said he was feeling peaceful. I said to him, "This feeling that you are enjoying comes from the presence of the new open space. It has a soothing effect. You'll want to maintain this because it makes you feel good."

He said, "I get why I had all this clutter around me. It makes sense. It made me less present around my wife. I'm sure that didn't help things. I don't want to run away from things anymore. It feels better to let go and actually feel again. All that stuff I had around me really made me crazy. I think I'm better when all this is simpler."