There's a certain me-ness that happens to our things over time. The longer we posses something, the more we identify with the thing. It becomes a part of us. In a way, we see it as us.
The me-ness makes it harder to consider whether something is part of our life or not. It can feel like we are questioning a part of our body. It can feel wrong to ask, "Do I like you or can I let you go?"
My client showed me his home library. The room was filled with books that he had collected for over twenty years. He displayed them with great pride.
I suggested we go through the books and see which ones are no longer a part of his life.
He said he felt resistance to going through the books. He said it felt like there was a force field around the books that was keeping him from being open to the clutter bust.
I said so much of him had been invested in these books for so many years that he saw himself in the collection. It was as if the borders of his body had extended into the books. I said his reaction was normal. But it would be worth taking a look because some of the book are probably no serving him and he would actually feel better by letting them go.
We began taking a look. I showed him a book at a time. This would help break the illusion of his physical extension to his things. We think more clearly when considering just one thing rather than a group of stuff.
He surprised himself by discovering that he actually no longer cared for many of the books. As he continued to let go, I sensed him becoming more present. It felt like he was pulling his sense of self back into his body.