Today's client was going through a divorce and had recently moved into a small studio apartment. She wanted to work on the boxes and bags of papers that had surrounded the desk in the corner of her apartment.
She said she felt overwhelmed and hadn't had the energy to venture into the papers. She got down on herself for the clutter situation.
I said that it made sense that the papers were the way they were. She was going through a divorce and had recently moved. These were both very stressful situations. She was overwhelmed and as a result had shut down. When any of us is in a state like this, we lose some of our capacities to take care of ourselves. We just don't have the personal resources to do the work.
I told her what helps is to notice the situation for what it is and to be kind to herself. Kindness is more powerful and motivating than berating. She could be compassionate to herself and take gentle steps to make things better.
She let out a deep breath. That was a sign that she was being easier on herself.
I suggested she go through one piece of paper at a time and ask, "Do I need this piece of paper in my new life, or can I let it go?"
I also said that she didn't need to get rid of all the paper clutter in order to start feeling better. With each decision to either kept a piece of paper or toss it, she would get a piece of her life back. She would be removing a distraction and getting more clarity. Each time she did that, she would get a little more piece of mind.
She liked that idea. We began to venture into the papers