Relaxing the Unconscious Hold

At yesterday's clutter busting workshop, one of the participants was complaining about the state of his home. He said the presence of so many things kept him from enjoying things like listening to records and having friends over. He said that he tried clutter busting on his own, but he got overwhelmed and exhausted and gave up for a while.

I asked him about some of the things in his home. He spoke of his collection of stereo speakers. He said he had ten to twenty extra pair of speakers he wasn't using. But he wasn't able to get rid of them and this made him feel sad and frustrated. I tried asking him if he was open to letting go of a few, but it was too much for him to consider.

He talked about not being able to have certain things when he was a kid. Sometimes we hang onto stuff because of a need we had a long time ago. If it was a really strong need it can stay "on" inside of us, looking for opportunities to satisfy the need feeling. The thing is, there is no "off" switch because it's an unconscious feeling. It's been with us for so long, and we get used to it and it becomes an unnoticed part of us. But at the same time it influences a lot of our actions and decisions.

I don't think we have to uncover the needs, but it can be beneficial to be aware of the effects. When we come across something that is not serving us, but we can't let it go, we know there are unconscious parts of us at work. It helps to see this. "I can see that I definitely don't need this, and it's actually causing pain in my life. Wow." It helps to not follow it with a, "Why can't I get rid of this? Something is wrong with me." It helps to observe the attachment at work. You can even bring in a little fascination. This can help relax the unconscious holding on.

I asked the workshop person about the speaker attachment so he could be aware of it in an easier way. I wanted to help alleviate the anguish about the situation. Then I asked him about other things. I helped him find two pair of suits that he decided he would let go of. This gave him some confidence. Then we talked about the speakers again and he was feeling a little more free. He said someone in his apartment building wanted a pair. I asked if he could give the speakers to the person this week. He easily said yes.

I pointed out this letting go was simpler than what he'd tried to do on his own. Since the situation in his home was overwhelming, it would be better for him to approach his clutter busting in a less ambitious way, but in a way that suited him now. Over time he could proceed in this easier way and it could make his clutter busting more consistent.