Letting Go of Excess

I was helping my client go through her home-office files. She was coming across many projects that she'd started at some point in the past ten years. A lot of the files were for projects she had forgotten about. But when she saw the files again, she remembered, got excited, and wanted to keep them.

My client's chief complaint when we started the clutter bust was that she wasn't able to get things done in her personal and business life. She felt she was flitting from one thing to another and never completing things. It had gotten to a point that she was afraid to venture into her files.

I said that she had a great quality of seeing the potential in everything. That optimism was valuable when focused on the task at hand. But it became a problem when she hanged onto more than she was capable of doing, because it interfered with getting tasks done.

Rather than focus on the benefits of everything she came across, I said it would help to ask herself, "Is this project something that I want to work on now? Or could I let it go?"

My client said it made her nervous to think of letting go of any of her projects. I said that's because it's been her habit to operate this way for a while. But it can help to see that this way of living has kept her from completing things, which was causing her to suffer.

I told her that my experience is that we do better with less. It's not like there is a particular number of items that is the perfect number to have. But I have noticed that we have peace of mind and we are more productive when we live without excess. Excess includes the things we live with that don't serve us; that we aren't using. They aren't a living part of our lives. When we let go of this excess, we have the space to thrive and be alive.

I said I thought she would be happier keeping a manageable number of projects that would allow her to actually accomplish things. She liked the idea of getting things done.

We went back into the files. She came across an old project idea. She said that it was a good idea, but when she asked herself if she would be interested in working on the project right now, she felt tired and listless. She decided to let that one go. We moved on to the next file.

We spent an hour going through about 20 projects, and she let about half of them go. When we were finished with our session, she was much more animated and on top of things. She seemed much more certain about her next steps in her creative life.