Do you know someone who has a hard time letting go of things? That would probably describe all of us at one time or another. But, there really is a range of letting go from those who have very little trouble at one end to those who are unwilling to release almost everything on the other end. If you’ve ever known someone at the extreme end, those who are willing to live in utter chaos and filth, penned in by their stuff, I am sure you have wondered what is going on with them that they can’t let go and enjoy a more comfortable and clean life.
I remember the first time I walked into the space of a woman who had called me to help her because she was at risk of being evicted from her apartment. It had been declared a fire hazard. The sight I saw took my breath away. Things were piled up in every room with only small paths to walk through. Paper had been thrown beside her bed and was at least six inches deep. People ask me if I ever get overwhelmed when I work with clients. Heck yeah! This was one of those occasions. All I knew to do was pray for guidance about where to start. There were so many things to be done. I just needed help to figure out what was the best use of our time, energy and her money. Thanks goodness my angels came through for me and I was able to begin by breaking down packing boxes that took up a lot of space. Then I was off and running for years and years. . .I still work with this client!
Why did my client have so much stuff in her space? Why does anyone do that to themselves? There are many possible reasons, but just recently I heard a possible reason that made me stop in my tracks. Ekhardt Tolle, in his new book, A New Earth, states that “when you feel dead to life within you, you look outside yourself to try to feel alive.” I wonder if people who for whatever reason are disconnected from themselves, not only seek things to fill the void, but then they begin to view those things as part of themselves. If you view something as part of yourself, not just an inanimate object, of course it would be difficult to let it go. And, if you go a step further and suppose that people who have traumatic experiences with people may have learned that things are safer than people, those things then take on the significance of being people substitutes. How could you think of throwing away something that you perceive has saved your life?
For those of us who can pitch with ease, it’s important to understand that there is complexity to the attachment to things. And, it takes much more than rational urging to let go.