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Ballast be gone!

Ballast be gone!

Posted on 26. Apr, 2016 by gilly in DO

The man in the BMW pulled up alongside my car and we exchanged half-smiles and complicit glances. We both knew why we were here and, in a perverse way, it felt good. Simultaneously, wordlessly, we walked to the back of our respective cars and deftly began to unload our cherished junk. We’d parked in the back entrance of “Les Petits Riens,” our local charity, and we were each on a mission.

The seen-it-all-attendant manning the receiving docks helped me unload. Briskly, we first transferred my eclectic wares into waste sorting bins: vacuum cleaners (2 of them), punctured basket balls, VHS tapes, rusty wok, broken hockey stick, Nespresso machine (1.0 model), Paleolithic printer, Neolithic computer… With every hurled object I experienced physical elation. At the next dock I offloaded the salvageables: toys, skates, books, mattresses, TV. The guy thanked me. I should have been thanking him, so amazing did it feel to shed stuff.

I’ve recently become a fierce proponent of dumping vs. acquiring, even before I’d picked up a copy of Marie Kondo’s international bestseller (published in over 30 countries) “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up.” Among other tips, Kondo gently incites you to use your heart to tidy-up: Torn by a familiar keep/toss conundrum? Clutch said object (blender, hat, vase, ceramic what-not made by Suzy aged 8) close to your chest, close your eyes and ask yourself: does this give me joy now? If the answer is NO, get rid of it.

That’s for physical decluttering. But as a coach, I have to tell you, decluttering one’s SELF ain’t that different. In my immediate circle I have witnessed friends successfully dump (in no particular order):

  • Guilt-driven behavior
  • Victim-like attitudes
  • Petty resentments (the ones that cost more to self than to the person being resented)
  • Attempts to “fix” a spouse
  • The drive to analyse or rationalise everything
  • The exhausting striving for incremental improvements
  • Relentless attempts to control everything
  • Over-committing tendencies (saying yes instead of saying no)
  • People that were sucking away their energy, soul or bank account

Among my amazing clients I have seen people jettison:

  • Old grudges
  • The need to be right all costs
  • The wish to have the last word at every meeting
  • The need to be in the limelight at all times
  • The need to please others at dizzying costs to their own well-being
  • The need for validation
  • The need to be perfect

I have watched them dump all sorts of fears and shed limiting beliefs, and I’ve enjoyed best-seat-in-the-house vantage point over what unfurls  for them (personally and professionally) when such “stuff” is cleared out.

Spring is traditionally a time of starting afresh—new resolve, new exercise regimens, new commitment. To increase the chances of all this newness actually sticking, we owe it to ourselves to ditch some of the old, certainly the dysfunctional bits. The desk chair that won’t rise or pivot properly, the ball that won’t bounce, the printer that will never print neatly again.

I returned from my drop-off mission with filthy hands and a spring in my step, feeling inexplicably lighter, energized yet serene. Definitely something to do more often.


4 Responses to “Ballast be gone!”

  1. Cathy

    28. Apr, 2016

    Dear Gilly,
    Welcome back! I’ve missed reading your opinion pieces and look forward to reading many more!

  2. Gery

    30. Dec, 2010

    Gilly – I am working on it! …so that I get as good in dumping “I am guilty” or “gosh this is not perfect” attitudes as I am dumping unused, outgrown or broken things! Like your article once again.

  3. gilly

    15. Dec, 2010

    Ah, Prevert… Ca fait un pti’ moment quand meme…suis ravie.

  4. Aline

    15. Dec, 2010

    Je me suis reconnue dans ton inventaire à la Prévert. Oui.

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