Please read this essay a couple of times. Susan gets right to the heart of the clutter!
Some sentimental items I declutter with a smile, an appreciation of a happy memory, and the release is fairly easy. Other items, I pass by, month after month, and say, “not yet”.
I have found a distinct pattern in what I will not release. Whatever I can’t bear to give up is somehow connected to what I can’t bear to forgive. A cat toy hangs from my kitchen chair. For more than two years, I look at the toy and ask, should I have noticed the lump earlier? Although I immediately took the cat to the vet, it was too late. I feel the knot inside, a physical, visceral reaction, at the thought of getting rid of this toy.
I have other sentimental clutter that creates this reaction. It’s people, situations, where I do not have a peaceful sense of closure. The clutter that reminds me I never properly said thank you. Friendships that I didn’t mean to let drift away. The ugly, itchy blanket knitted by an elderly aunt I was too busy to visit more often.
This clutter is the “Cat’s In the Cradle” reminder that I misjudged, overlooked the oblivious, was distracted…it is the clutter of “unfinished business and now it’s too late”. Emotional debts I owe, and cannot repay. Mistakes I made, that I cannot fix. When I pass over this type of sentimental clutter, the visceral reaction isn’t about the cat toy or the itchy blanket. The reaction isn’t even about the love for the cat or my aunt. It is strangely about perfection. This clutter looks like love for something I lost, but it really represents a disappointment in myself that perfection will not allow me to reconcile. If I can’t do the future perfectly, fear keeps me from starting. If I didn’t do yesterday perfectly, guilt keeps me from letting go.
I can’t FLY, without releasing clutter that keeps me stuck in suffering. I put the itchy blanket and the cat toy in the donation bag. For the last time, I say, I am sorry. For the first time, I say, I forgive myself.
My humanity demands my mistakes. It is me, who demands perfection. It is FLYING, that asks me to release the clutter, to let go. It is FLYING, that brings the forgiveness. It is FLYING, that brings the peace.