The Thinking Mind and the Working Mind

I was helping one of my clients clutter bust her closet. She had purposely avoided going in the closet on her own because she had been intimidated. Sometimes clutter can be like a bully, seemingly putting up a tough front to scare us. I had her sit on her bed and I brought out one box or clear plastic container at a time.

The thing is, once she started actually taking a look at the things that were in the closet, she was no longer scared. There's a concept called the thinking mind versus the working mind. The thinking mind comes up with all the reasons why something is or will be hard, impossible, painful and will fail. It's the editorial commentary on what is. Then there's the working mind which is the part of us that is functional and does the work or activity. It doesn't see the task as good or bad, it does the task.

When I show up for a job, the clients are often in the thinking mind. I can tell because a part of them is exhausted. That's what the thinking mind does. It daunts us and makes us fold and shut down. I simply get my clients started and after a few minutes, they are up and running and there's a peaceful look on their face. The working mind is a peaceful experience.

My client was in the working mind as she went through each container from her closet. But then when my client came across a clear plastic container fulled of stuffed animals her thinking mind returned. She winced and said in a little girl voice, "I can't throw out the animals! Wouldn't that be a bad thing to do?" I brought her back to the present moment and said, "Okay, let's take them out of the container and put them on your bed." She blanched. She got it. She said, "I don't think so. Let's donate them."

The interesting thing is she got creative and kept a stuffed dog that intrigued her and she put it in her fridge. It made her happy to see the dog sitting with the food when she opened the fridge door.