Letting Go

(The names in this blog were changed for the protection of the clients)

When you have finally gotten to your breaking point and are ready to organize your space, there are certain things to be expected. As in any process there are steps to letting go.

The initial letting go steps would seem easy- throwing out garbage, creating a donation pile and perhaps separating that for family and friends or an organization of your own choice.

What about the items you may find yourself attached to for one reason or another. Sometimes the attachment is sentimental or financial, other times it’s just an item you have had forever and by now it is just a part of your identity. You could absolutely get rid of it, but for some reason you don’t.

Often, there are items that bring up a memory, like a time in your life that was so good, sometimes not so good. These items pose a different sort of challenge. So many feelings and the question remains… What should I do? Well let’s take a look at the ones associated to guilt, remorse or sadness. I always find it interesting when these negative feelings occur and the client still struggles with letting go.

I remember one of my clients, Iggy. He had a picture of his brother in-law out on his mantel in his old home. He was now newly divorced and because of where he had it in his previous space he now had decided to place it on his book shelve in the middle of his new living room. I had no idea the meaning behind this picture, but I watched my clients energy go from complete excitement and joy to a lost, slumped over despair. I had to ask, “Iggy, why do you want this picture out?” He said with a face of sadness, “It’s an ode to my brother in-law, he was killed in 9/11.” I said “Oh, I see.” I didn’t want to tell my client I saw the change, I wanted him to figure it out himself. I said “well let me ask you a question my friend, what type of feelings come up for you when you see this picture?” He looked at me as he was a child and I was the parent “extreme sorrow and pain.” I the grabbed the picture, taking it with me to his bedroom and he followed me curious to what I was going to do. I looked straight into his eyes “Iggy, let’s not fill your newly created space on purpose with those harsh feelings. “ I opened his bottom drawer of his end table next to his bed. I placed the frame face up, I also placed prayer books, an angel pin and some other motivational books in there. I said, “Look” as I pointed to the frames new spot. “He will always be close to you, his memory will always live inside your heart; and no he will always be surrounded by peace and joy. If you want to see his face or say a prayer to his picture you can, but he is confined to a place where you get to make the choice.”

Sometimes with items, the letting go process does not have to mean throwing out or donating, sometimes it’s just about the change in location and how we now approach or deal with that item. The most significant thing here to remember, is that everyone only has a certain amount of space to work with. It’s important to take up the most valuable space with items that give you peace of mind and fill your heart with joy, not pain.

Often people fear the act of letting go because they have this question, what will life be like, without that item? It’s sounds funny, but it’s so true, many have a hard time parting with the un-none, so instead the just avoid letting go.

I once had a client who spent an enormous amount of money on a sweater. She loved the colors and adored the fabric, but year after year she would pass it over. One year she had gained some weight so it didn’t quite fit. The next year it was out of style. The year after that she couldn’t seem to find anything to match it, mind you, the tags were still attached.

When working with this client, she was very candid about this one attachment. She had many attachments, different types but others seemed easier to part with. By the time I got to her, the sweater had now been sitting in that closet for five years.

I was approaching the creation of the sweater section and because she was honest with me about this particular situation, I wanted to dig a little deeper. “Linda, are you ready to part with this sweater”? “No” she said “I’m still not willing to let it go”. She mentioned that she had spent a ton of money on it, and pointed to the tags. The financial attachment is what Linda was struggling with. I explained the theory of space. I said “Linda, you only have this amount of space for sweaters” showing her with my hands so she had a visual. I expressed “in five years you have held a spot for a sweater you already know you are going to pass over.

I then asked “whose birthday is coming up that you truly love and adore, who is your size?” Spontaneouly “Grace, my best friend Grace is my size. Oh my God my best friend Grace” She repeated it again like she could not believe it. I literally saw the light bulb go off in her head. She never even thought about the possibility of handing it over to someone she loves as a present. It’s such an obvious solution to me, but so many don’t even make this connection! I try make this suggestion as often as I can, especially when it comes to the struggle of letting go with a financial attachment.

We all surround ourselves with objects. That will always be the case. However what I want people to see is the light and freedom in letting go. Some things may bring comfort into your space, but they also carry extra weight. Learn to let go.

You never know what the space being created will do for you until you experience it. New things, new energy’s will have a chance to flow, so again please let go.

Whatever the reason is for holding on to items that are no longer useful, or serving you in a positive way, ask the questions. Be your own investigator, figure out why you are holding on and then create a plan. Come to terms with the reason and change your perspective.

It may be difficult to part with things that once held a lot of attention, emotional energy, or remind you of a time in your life that you don’t want to separate from. It can almost feel like a betrayal or strong sense of death to let things go. Identify the reason for the attachment, change your thinking, and follow through with a plan. Think about the feelings attached to that particular reason and if they are not serving your life in a positive way, you know it’s time to let go.

If you choose not to let go, you may be creating negativity in your surroundings. Perhaps a change in location is the 1st step for you, but movement is key. Nurture yourself in a safe, organized, loving and caring space. Surround yourself only with things that bring true joy, encouragement, happiness and peace. Create your own haven and within that haven beyond your wildest dreams will be created! That I can promise you!

2 Responses

  1. Great article - thank you. So many reasons we are attached to things -- and sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to help us figure out what belongs where.
  2. Organizing is easy compared to Letting Go and Thinking you will use an art supply because you wanted to do something different. But you have it 2 years and haven't tried it yet. This is a hard fact that I have come to a decision about. Thank you Dana Barash the business. As your mother I thank you for your patience in waiting for me to get to this point. It has also helped Dad. I'm not alone in keeping things.. Parents try to teach their children but it's when they teach us... then we feel we did something right.

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