We were clearing out some CDs in preparation for digitizing our music, and I was holding on to one that I couldn't seem to let go.
Here's why I knew it was time to say goodbye:
- It brought up sad memories (that I can remember plenty well without that music anyway).
- I haven't listened to it in at least 10 years.
- When I imagined one of the songs coming on, I knew I would skip past it, even if I was in a sad mood. Even though the music is technically amazing, I don't really like listening to it.
And still, I was having a hard time putting it on the discard pile.
And then I thumbed through my copy of Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. And I found this: "But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future."
Holding onto this music for me was about holding onto a friendship from the past--and my idea of who I wanted to be in the world back then. And it was also about a fear that I would want that CD at some point and be sad that I had let it go.
Just getting that specific about the reasons I was hanging on helped. I can't do anything with a vague I-just-want-to-keep-it.
But I can work with the idea that the CD represents a friendship and a view of myself that I'm still scared to let go--all these many years later. I will feel the same way about the friendship with or without the CD. I actually *want* to let go of that old view of myself because it isn't helping me anymore.
And I can make quick work of the fear that I might want this to hear this music again someday. If that happens, I can get that album online a heck of a lot faster than I could unearth it shoved in some box in our shed anyway.
So it's gone. And I'm relieved.
This story is about a CD, but you can ask yourself this question about all sorts of things you can't seem to let go in your life: Am I holding on because of attachment to the past or fear for the future?
Does your answer get you any closer to loosening your grip?
PS: If you need a little help letting go, email me. I'd love to help.