Attending to the Burial

At a recent workshop, one of the people in attendance spoke about the clutter of an old business. Her business had gone under and she was upset at herself for not cleaning up the remnants of the business. She would try, but would give up pretty quickly. She felt she should be able to do it. I could feel her sadness under the frustration.

I said when something that was a big part of our life ends earlier than we expected, there can be disappointment and sorrow. In some ways it can be like a death. The thing that was part of our life is over, and we're left with our emotional involvement which is still present. We have our expectations and passion about this thing, but the thing isn't there anymore. It's normal to still care about something after its gone. The difficult part is if we try and be hard on ourselves and force the letting go. What helps is to recognize what is going on.

I said, "The clutter busting of your business is like attending to its burial. There's the actual physical disposal of things, and there's the acceptance of the sadness about something ending prematurely. They can occur together."

Sometimes the sadness that comes with the loss and the disposal can be too much. You can stop and take a break. "I'm sad. This is hard on me. I'm going to stop." As you rest, you begin to feel better. Then you come back to the clutter busting in a way that you can handle. Recognizing and accepting the emotional part of the situation makes it easy to take care of what needs to be done.

How do you know when to push beyond resistance to let something go, and when to stop and be kind to yourself? If you find yourself getting involved in the resistance, you notice your thoughts and emotions are repeating themselves and it's making you tired, then it's not helping you and it's time to move forward again. You stop and are kind to yourself when the moving forward is not productive in the moment and you sense you need a break. The moving forward and stopping can both be ways of being kind to yourself. It's a fine line and it's up to you discriminate and see what fits best in the moment.