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  • Deah Curry PhD

Too Nice to Say Goodbye?

I've always been slow to discard things I've outgrown, whether those have been belief systems, receipts and tax files, jeans, sense of responsibility to various jobs, or relationships. Making the clean break has rarely been my style. What if, I've reasoned, I want or need that item or information or contact again in the future for something really important that can't be foreseen now?

Yeah, that's really never happened.

Clearly, this is just about my reluctance to let go. What or who will I be without these things or person if I give them away now? How sorry will I be if I can't retrieve what I need later? How much of the sky will actually crash down on my head without this stuff I don't even want, or that doesn't belong to me anymore?

Am I too nice too say goodbye to stuff? Or too scared of separation anxiety?

When leaving my last full-time job to pursue the doctorate, I hung on for many months to the illusion of being indispensable, training and advising my replacement. I liked the part of my identity associated with that organization. When I stopped teaching, I liked retaining the status of educator, and soon found ways online to extend that, if only on an informal basis. When I transitioned from psychotherapist to business coach for therapists, I kept membership in professional associations for counselors. I still haven't dumped my LinkedIn account, but I suspect that will happen soon.

Two years ago when I decided to renovate my condo I got rid of a ton of files and boxes of books, and almost all my furniture. I didn't give myself time to panic, nor grieve. There was a deadline. There would be no new flooring if the guys had to move all my stuff around. While there was some disorientation and distress when I couldn't find my stash of blank checks, it was also kind of freeing to be in a nearly empty space for months afterwards.

It was months between decision and action when I decided to get divorced. I told myself I wanted to do it with as little disruption to daily life as possible, to be ready, to be sure I'd have no regrets. That worked for me, for the most part. And daily Rescue Remedy going through the actual legalities helped, too.

I broke my pattern though, years later, when a long term relationship came to an end. There was no hesitance that time, no weeks of thinking things through. Out with all email addresses and phone numbers, purged from computer and lists of friends. Out with all the little craft projects done for me -- the headboard, the altar, the picture frames. Left unfinished were the writing projects we had teamed up on. No reminders wanted. I could let go of the hurt, but held on to the anger for a while. At least, until I realized the relationship had never actually been what I thought it was. Okay. Lesson learned.

Today, I set about dismantling the digital trail of the last decade of my work as a website designer. Oh sure, I had declared my retirement 8 months ago, but I'd left intact all my access to client website -- in case they had an emergency. Now, gone are my privileges as site admin. Deleted are several of my own websites I haven't tended all year. Disconnected are sites from domains, and this week the companion Facebook pages will be discarded as well. I have no need for those identities any more.

Purging can be a healing process. Is it a coincidence that I'm cleansing myself from a lot of my long standing mental-emotional and tangible attachments when starting today a detox protocol with acu-patch technology? Well, that probably depends on whether we're talking about the most mundane level of experience -- in which case the answer would be yes of course it's coincidental -- or if we're talking about the spiritual-energetic level, in which case the answer is that biomagnetic energy moves in mysterious ways.

At any rate, I feel a strengthening of the psychic muscles that allow me to no longer tolerate that which does not serve my highest good.

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