Let it go. You’ll be pleased to hear I’m not about to burst into a rendition of every small girl’s favourite song. My post today is, what I hope will be, another useful insight into how to calm the busy mind and bring a bit more order into the chaos.
Learning #2 – Just let it go.
This weekend I have been decluttering. My son and his girlfriend have been living with me since graduating last summer, but they have finally managed to afford to move to a place of their own. This has not only meant I now have a spare room, but has given me the opportunity to have a good clear out. I have moved three times in the past three years, but somehow I still have too much stuff.
So I’ve been ruthless. My clothes now all fit into one wardrobe. I have thrown out some old tatty furniture as a result and now feel I have space to breathe and move. I still have more to do but it already feels good to have less in my life, to simplify, to focus on things that really matter rather than worrying about where to store things that I never use (let’s just ignore that fact I’ve managed to ‘lose’ all my bedding in a dyspraxic moment of brain dysfunction, I’m trying to move on from that! :)).
And it set me thinking. It’s not only possessions that I have been letting go of. Too frequently, in the past, I have found myself stuck in old ways of thinking, old difficult memories, old conversations and old events. I have found myself wasting so much of my time, energy and mental capacity focusing on stuff that I don’t need; in a metaphorical sense, on stuff I don’t have room for.
So how to declutter the mind? My daughter reminded me one of the ways to get rid of physical things is to stop touching them, that way the sentimental and emotional connections are broken, and it’s easier to throw them out. I think memories are the same. Find ways to break the connections. In today’s world it’s too easy to be reminded of the bad stuff; our lives are recorded and posted, Facebook, Instagram, email, blogs (!). It’s all there to be read, reread, analysed; the neural pathways constantly being reinforced.
Having a bit of an addictive personality, it’s very easy for me to get caught up in the stuff that hurts, looking at it, constantly torturing myself. So now I use the delete button. Anything I think might harm me mentally is decluttered, sent to the virtual municipal dump in the sky, so my mental wardrobe has more room for the stuff I like, the things that make me happy.
Does it always work? Of course not. And I can’t get rid of places that remind me of things I don’t want to remember, I can’t always avoid hearing songs that upset me, of smelling aromas that take me back to a bad, sad memory. Those negative thoughts still come to me, like waves on the beach, sometimes gentle and manageable, sometimes crashing and deafening, sweeping me out to sea with their scary force. But hey, I can only control what I can control. Better to lessen the impact, rather than constantly scratching at scabs and reopening wounds.
It has worked, I’m definitely calmer and less bothered by intrusive thoughts – the constant nemesis of the anxious mind – than I was in the past. I’m also making a concerted effort not to dwell on those thoughts when they do come, which is something I will talk more about in a future post.
So yes, my lesson learnt today is let it go.
The cold never bothered me anyway.