Clearing the Wreckage from the Freeway

One of my blog readers wrote:

"I have been repairing guitars since the early 80's. About 7 yrs ago I re-met a woman who I used to date when I was going to school. She got pregnant and we moved into together and got married and had our beautiful girl. Since my wife could not make enough $ doing real estate appraisal I ended up fixing guitars as a 2nd job pretty much all the time at night to support a stay at home wife and child. The monotony and overworking got to me and I was not taking care of myself. I became cranky for overworking and stressed out about being the sole income provider and it even affected my real job as a draftsman. Our intimacy suffered.

My wife decided to separate from me. She resented me being grumpy and stressed out all the time and I had to do what I had to do and keep the family afloat. Now we are soon to be divorced and I used to have such an undying passion for music and guitars and guitar repair. I blame guitar repair for the downfall of my marriage but like the alcoholic, I realize I chose to go in the basement every night and fix guitars but yet the bills had to be paid. I feel like selling my guitar tools and guitar collection. I just can't stand to look at them, they are draped in sheets in my room. I know I'm going thru a time where everything is crazy and my life is upside down. Guitars used to bring me such joy but now I just get so sad and angry about guitar stuff. I've told my guitar nut clients to quit obsessing about the minutia of the guitar tone poseur stuff and pay attention to what is really important in your life, your spouse and kids. I so miss my wife and daughter."

Thanks for sharing your clutter situation. I'm sorry that you are experiencing such emotional pain. Life is pretty powerful and takes us down rough terrain and sometimes there's nothing we can do about it in the moment. In retrospect we can try and blame ourselves, but our life circumstances can be overwhelming, and in your case, you might want to try and bring some compassion for yourself. When we get overwhelmed, we can't think as clearly as when we're rested. You did what you felt was right to take care of your family. But it was all too much for you and it used a lot of you up, leaving that much less for your family. This happens to a lot of people.

Maybe it would help to sell and let go of the guitar collection and guitar tools since you can't stand to look at them and they are draped. The main thing is taking care of yourself now. Whether some thing hurt us in the past, or it was a treasure, if it's not serving us now, it doesn't have a place in our lives. It's up to you to decide whether the guitars and the equipment is helping or hurting you. When we start taking care of ourselves, our life starts to heal itself. What the face of the healing will look like, we don't know. But it does allow our life to flow again, and for the emotional suffering to come to an end.

You don't have to figure out how to repair everything right now. Do the little things you can do now. Sometimes people call it cleaning up the wreckage from the freeway. It's within your ability and it will start to give you some relief which is the best thing you can do for yourself now. When we start taking care of ourselves, the influence spreads to the other people in our lives. Maybe it will have a helpful effect on you and your family. Let me know how it goes.