Room to Play

I recently worked with a client in his music room office. His guitars hung from the walls. There was space between them. It was the peaceful upper half of the room. The lower half was covered with papers, magazines, and lots of various other things. It looked like a turbulent ocean. It caused him great misery. He said he can't ever play his guitars because he feels so discombobulated from the disorder. He held his head and groaned a lot.

I figured I wouldn't talk with him about the effect of clutter because he was quite aware of his situation. So I brought in a big recycling trash can from outside and I put it in the middle of the room. I said, "Let's go to it!" I asked him about one piece of paper at a time. I spoke softly and kindly because anything more in his overwhelmed state would have been too much. People are delicate in their homes. They let down their guards and are vulnerable. Kindness works best.

At first he had a hard time making decisions because his attention kept going back to the mess as a whole. I said, "Okay, but what about this paper, do you need it or can we let it go?" He focused and said no for most of the papers. With the magazines he was a little more resistant. He loved the cover stories. But on investigation, he never read the stories. He was entranced by the cover photo and the story title. But when it came down to it, he liked played his instruments, not reading about them. When he decided to let them go, there was a big release in his heart. I could feel the sigh. He seemed greatly relieved. Sometimes we hang onto things because we think we should, but when we're honest with ourselves and we let it go, we get so much energy and happiness back.

It took us a couple of hours, but we cleared the space. Then I had him sit and I got out a guitar and plugged it into an amp and handed it to him. I asked him to play. He relished the playing. There was nothing in his way. He played with glee. When he was done, I said, "Playing guitar matters to you more than most things. We don't know the reason why all that stuff got in the way. We don't need to. The main thing to know is how much you love playing, and to maintain your space so you can continue to experience the love and joy you feel while jamming. It's on the same level as your need for food. Because you love yourself, you'll find it easier to maintain this."

He smiled. He said, "It's really just about letting go of the stuff I don't care about it." I nodded.