Recognizing this moment in time

I did a workshop yesterday in Evanston, Illinois. As usual, I don't remember that much from the workshops because although I give a talk, answer questions, and help people let go -- it's just a rush of experiences and intuitive feelings.

I do remember one experience that I want to share with you. I could feel some tension between a couple in the group. When they felt ready to talk, the woman asked, "What do you do with expensive things? Things that you're not using that were expensive?"

"Nothing has any value if it's disturbing your peace of mind," I told her. They had some musical recording equipment that her husband had bought awhile back.

I felt like something else was going on, and I started talking to her husband. He said "I feel like I can't do all the things I want to do because of all the clutter in our home." I wanted to help him through that so I asked what he wanted to do. He said, "I want to help people. I want to write and record songs, and I want to write books." He told me three people close to him had died in the past year, and I could feel how sad he was.

I acknowledged that he was overwhelmed and hurt, and told him that of course he wouldn't be capable of doing what he wanted to do right now. All of us get overwhelmed at times. "Everyone here in this room is overwhelmed in some kind of way. That's why we're here. Whatever it is in our lives -- somebody dies, we lose a job, or we're just exhausted -- our capacity is diminished for that moment in time. So we're not capable of taking care of everything that we need to take care of in our lives. Usually what happens is we try to push ourselves through it. What I'm asking everyone here to do is that when we're diminished, to recognize that, and take care of ourselves first. The clutter situation can't be taken care of in one fell swoop."

But I still wanted to give them some clutter-busting tools they could use when they were ready. So I said to the two of them, "The two of you can work together and help each other through this." I told the wife, "Pick one small area, hold up one thing at a time and ask, 'Is this something you're using? Does it support you helping people, writing songs or writing books? Or can you let it go?'"