Letting Go and Opening Up

One of my clients was a really good musician. He was intuitive with his playing. It made him very happy to play his music. But he rarely let himself play. Instead he got involved with the clutter in his office music room. There were piles of papers, magazines, and other various stuff on top of his amps, desk, and scattered on the floor. He was depressed that he let things get to their state of disorder, and for so long. I asked him if he would play me a song. I figured that would put him in good state of mind. But he said he'd been too depressed to play. He seemed so sad. I had a feeling that because he wasn't letting himself play, there was a flood of emotions stored up in him. That's how we all are when we shut down and we don't get a chance to flow in our favorite natural ways.

So I went outside through the sliding glass doors and brought back in the big trash container that he and his family throw in their regular trash. It was dirty. It smelled like old rancid food. I opened the lid and the smell got even worse. There was old food mixed in with other kinds of trash. It made it very uncomfortable to be in the room. He asked me what I was doing. I said "There's no difference between what's in the trash container and the stuff littering up your room. Except that you're used to the stuff in your room so it doesn't seem like trash. But it's affecting you. The depression you are feeling is the same experience as the rotting trash." I'm not usually this dramatic. I tend to be more low key. But I figured the quieter approach wouldn't reach him. I wanted him to get a better sense of how he was living.

He was no longer slouching in his chair. He was sitting up. Plus the smell of the trash was bothering him. I said, "Let's go through your stuff so you don't have the endure this for very long." I began with the music magazines. He had quite a vast collection. I said he had enough knowledge to actually write for these magazines. Plus reading them will only remind him that he's not playing and that would be an excuse to feel worse. It was hard for him to be aware of this. I think he was living vicariously through the magazines. But they weren't serving him. They weren't inspiring him to play. They were making him sad. He went through each one like a sad goodbye. I said, "The musicians you admire are not immune to being sad like how you've been feeling. But they play, and they get to feel all their emotions through their music. I think you could too."

He let the magazines go. Most of the papers went too. I could sense his lethargy going too. I asked him to play for me. He took down a very old electric guitar off its holder on the wall. It was bright red and worn down in places. He held it gently. He plugged in the guitar to an amp and played. It was beautiful music. It sounded like he was talking through his playing. The notes sounded like words.