attachment or fear?

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:

  1. It brought up sad memories (that I can remember plenty well without that music anyway).
  2. I haven't listened to it in at least 10 years.
  3. 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."

Or both.

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.