Disentangling From Placeholders

By the end of this post, you will be compelled to delete this email (if that is how you are reading this). You may even be compelled to finally let go of something that you are holding on to unhealthily. You will become ready to embrace the new. You will learn how to be fully present with your friends and family, yourself and with life.

So be very present now. Take a deep breath. And be here with me, reading this.

I have begun deleting my emails. For far too long, I would keep them in my inbox for reading them later, even after I have read them. It is much easier to delete a message from a service company or newsletter subscription. But email from a friend or a family member - very hard to delete. The email may simply say, "Let us go of lunch". Or it may be a letter filled with a deep heart connection. I am learning to let go.

What I am realizing is that that email is always a placeholder for the connection I have with someone, not the connection itself. The message it carries goes beyond the words, it goes deep into my heart. I realize that if I can be fully present with that heart connection, with that deep feeling that I feel with a person, I will not feel the need to "hoard" the emails.

This same thing applies to every object we have that are actually placeholders. A vase that a friend gave us is symbolic of their love and appreciation for us. If you are using it and loving it, keep it. But if is the fourth vase in your house and it is starting to make your life cluttered, it is time to be with the heart connection and let go of the symbol of it. Somebody will be very happy to receive it as a gift or a charity will receive it with open arms as a donation. Your friend who gave you that gift would never have wanted that gift to become an emotional shackle for you or to clutter up your living space. Their intention was to enrich and enhance your life. But whether or not it does it, is something you have to determine. And so allow yourself the permission to let go.

This brings me to another very important realization that I would like to share with you. Because I think this is another dimension of the idea of decluttering your home or studio or deleting emails in your inbox.

This is about being with people and yourself fully.

There are times when we are spending time with a friend or family member but we are lost in space. We are physically there but not fully there. It is only later that we realize our real loss. People who have lost a loved animal companion or a family member or friend know this all too deeply. 

In February 2013, my husband's band was going on a music tour through the Northeastern US. This would have been a great opportunity for me to go on a road trip and to visit my parents in NJ, about 12 hours drive from our home in NC. The night before my trip, I had this intense feeling that I needed to stay back. There was no rational reason to explain it. I had made my plans, the bags were packed, parents were preparing to welcome me and everything was in place. But my feet felt solidly rooted in North Carolina. I just knew it in my gut that I needed to stay. I just did not know why.

That entire February, I stayed with my beautiful, loving cat Sunflower. She and I shared special moments of connection. She would climb and then curl up on my back while I lay on the floor reading. Or she would explore curiously in the yard on a sunny afternoon while I did yoga on the porch. She would sleep on my chest at night and keep give me heart energy healing. It was really a very beautiful time.

Next month, Miss Sunflower became ill, went through surgery and then on April 15th, she crossed the rainbow bridge.

Looking back at those moments when I had this gnawing feeling in my stomach that I needed to stay back, I now understand that this was a very precious time to be with my dear friend. A time that would never come back. Even though I did not understand it and even though I had to disappoint some by cancelling my trip, I am so grateful that I followed what felt right because I dearly miss my lovely cat friend and I have those special moments in my heart to soothe my soul.

This story reminds me to be fully present with the people I am with. When I am at Bele Chere (annual summer festival in Asheville, NC), with a friend I am going to be fully there with her. Because she may move to North Dakota. When I am chatting with my neighbor kids, I am to be fully present, because they are going to grow up. When I am with my parents, I am fully there for them because they are growing older. When I am with the trees outside my yard, I am admiring its beauty because the next day I come out of my house and see that it was cut down by the utility workers. I deeply enjoy the food I am eating because soon it will be digested!

And then, I remind myself to bring this presence to myself. I am deeply present with my dreams, my emotions, my desires, because they are transitory. They bring gifts that I must catch or else like bubbles they fade away.

All this does is help me connect with life with my heart. It helps me enjoy each moment fully. It helps me to listen more closely. It helps me to be living life NOW. And I disentangle from placeholders.


So now, it is your turn. If you are reading this as an email, click delete at the end. That action will be your message to self that you are absorbing the message but letting go of the placeholders. Then go on and do three things today:

1. Look at one item that you have that you are emotionally attached to in a unhealthy way. You will know that it is unhealthy when you sense a slight doubt or hesitation about keeping that item. Then decide if it can still go into donation or as a gift or shall it be recycled. Remember if it is from a friend or it marks a special occasion, that connection is already in your heart. No item can replace what you feel inside.

2. The next opportunity you have to be with a person, be fully present. Drop your digital toys. Drop your to-do lists. Just listen to that person fully. That is all they deeply want. You may not even need to say anything heroic. Just show them your presence. Easy way to do that is to breathe deeply while your ears are listening to the person speak. Breathing consciously will help you to be present fully.

3. Today, fully allow whatever you feel and experience to be just the way it is. Drop the need to resist it, or question it, or analyze it. Just allow whatever you feel to be like that. Like a mother embracing a child who is crying, not asking why or how come, just soothing and allowing the space for the child to be with their crying. Do that to yourself. It may be any emotion like frustration, irritation, doubt, overwhelm, anxiety, anger, resentment, impatience, jealousy, unworthiness and so on. Just be with it. Shine your loving light and be fully present, again, with conscious breathing.

Do this and let me know how it works for you.




The first thing that you feel is cluttering : LET GO

The first person you meet : BE WITH THEM FULLY

The first emotion that arises : BE WITH IT FULLY