I got it! I'm as stuck regarding my reluctant release of papers and unsorted boxes as my friend—I'll call him Pat—is about his depression. I was feeling pretty good about my coaching of Pat who let himself get back into depression. I'd just heard a tape by Tony
Robbins who suggested changing one's inner state was as simple as understanding how you created the state of despair, and then seeing that process as your recipe for depression. If you didn't like the outcome of the recipe, go to another recipe and follow the steps toward contentment. Well, Pat said "You're right" several times, and I said I didn't care about that, I cared that he planned the menu for a desirable emotional state rather than for anguish. He agreed he'd take the steps he knew would get him out of his distress.
Then, loving friend that he is, Pat reciprocated! "So how did you do with your sorting?" He knew I'd decided to spend an hour a day on that the past two weeks. "How many boxes did you empty?" I'd gone through two in two hours when another friend was there
giving me encouragement through the process. I admitted I hadn't emptied another box because there were too many papers I ended up keeping. And he proceeded to exhort me to be as vigilant about my stuck place as I had urged him to be about his distress. Damn! He buried the knife deeper: "What's good for the goose is good for the gander!"
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It’s relatively easy for the optimist I am to stay happy most of the time. It’s equally easy for Pat to delete emails and to sort piles of papers before they become boxes of papers. I had to take his challenge. Pat promised that for the next two hours he would swim,
read Albert Ellis, and not host any negative thoughts. I agreed that I would be ruthless in sorting—keeping only personal papers and material useful to my work as speaker, writer and coach.
To my amazement, I got through two boxes. One of them was full of heavy card stock from six entrepreneurial projects ago that I was saving to use for scrap paper, but I put 95% of it in recycling and kept a modest 5% for grocery lists, notes for roomers, and the like. Sounds easy to you, maybe, but it actually wrenched the part of me that is capable of aching when I miss out on something desirable. Yes, I know there's always new paper coming in, but this has nothing to do with logic, just as Pat's focusing on what isn't working instead of what is has nothing to do with logic. It is as “simple” as stopping eating when you're no longer hungry or abstaining from cigarettes or alcohol if they are your downfall. Changing a habit may not happen overnight, but it can change! That's the thing, it can change! Share more of my inner and outer adventures at http://pleasuresandponderings.com/excerpts.htm