You only lose what you cling to. ~ Buddha
Most of us have done this ~ ‘fess up, you’ve probably done it too! What am I talking about? I’m talking about holding onto things that no longer serve a purpose, take up space, keep us from moving forward. Perhaps for you that means having stacks of boxes of stuff in your office that you just can’t seem to get rid of because you don’t want to throw them out. Maybe you feel that in throwing out those boxes you’ve given up on the notion that these things inside the boxes will someday be useful to you…or someone…anyone. But here’s the deal ~ the more we hold on the less control we have. The lower the probability there will be room in our lives, space or psyche for something more appropriate to have the capacity to move in.
There is another very paradoxical force at work here as well, one that simply says, ‘There is no greater way to lose control than to try to control everything.’ Let’s face it; we can’t control everything. It is just plain impossible. We may want to. We may think we can be that person but we can’t. None of us are that special. Sorry about that. Nor, if you think about it, would you necessarily want to control everything.
I suggest there are a couple of ways to look at this topic of letting go. Let’s start with the most basic ~ keeping physical stuff. There are lots of people who are good about throwing out, donating, selling and recycling goods they no longer need or use but for a majority of us this is a problem. For the ‘stuff’ I’d suggest you give some real thought to literally getting rid of as much as you can. There are lots of websites and books devoted to telling you how to do this; want a preview? Just pitch it. Haven’t used it/thought about it/no longer find it beautiful? Out! As one client began the process of weeding out their stuff he was surprised at how much more energy he had each day; he literally felt lighter.
A different way to look at this is to think about the stuff as representing parts of our history. It might be a thing that reminds us of a time in our lives or a dream we held onto for a period. Those memories are great and surely worth keeping. Write them down in your journal or start a memory jar which has small slips of paper to remind you of great times but what you don’t need to do is hold onto those memories in such a way that they prevent new, wonderful memories from being built. Outdated hopes such as purchasing and keeping a dog crate for the past 15 years because you so want a dog, have the power to keep you from present day opportunities. Who knows? Perhaps you’ll not get the dog but take up raising chickens instead but would not have seen that had you kept the dog crate.
Here are 3 Action Steps to get you started on your quest to let go:
Begin to survey your physical surrounds and if an object hasn’t been used or has been packed away for 20 years its time to consider finding it a new home.
The next time you find yourself thinking, “one day I will surely_____” take the next step and ask yourself, “will I really do that? Does that still sing to me as something I want to do?”
Practice mindfulness with what you bring into your space. If it doesn’t speak to who you’re striving to become or if there’s no physical room for it then reconsider it. Doesn’t mean you won’t have it in the future but the time might not be right now.
I’ve found those pieces of life that I hold both dear and with less of a strangle grip are more likely to be highly satisfying and so I trust for you as well.