[Note: Last week was a “Week Off” in my Great Big Dreams e-Seminar. Participants caught up on the first three weeks of assignments and tasks, but no new assignments were added. They still received daily emails. This post is an adaptation of one of those emails.]
My cat Gracie has long hair.
She’s black and white. She’s quite glamorous.
But don’t let her girlish appearance fool you. She’s so not prissy!
In fact, she has inspired many a speculation from my husband and I about her antics throughout the day.
Gracie’s got so much hair that she looks like she’s wearing pantaloons. This can sometimes pose problems when it comes to the litter box.
Sometimes she’ll go up to the litter box and then, a few minutes later, she’ll charge down the stairs – eyes wide – as if in a race against time. She runs through the house. She bites at her fur. She drags her little butt across the floor. It’s like kitty Benzedrine.
She doesn’t stop until the offending item has dislodged itself from her fur.
(Kinda makes you wanna come over to my house for dinner, huh?)
Anyway, I have a name for this situation.
I call it “Clingers.”
Gracie will simply not participate in anything else in her life until the Clingers are gone. Then, she can clean herself, and head out on a new adventure.
We can all learn from this habit.
In fact, I used this metaphor with Lana, an e-Seminar participant from last April.
Lana had spent months letting go of an unhealthy relationship, moving from an unhealthy living situation, and setting new boundaries with a boss that worked her too hard.
After a month of great progress, things got a little stalled out. It wasn’t moving fast enough for her anymore.
The work got tedious. The boyfriend started playing his usual inappropriate games. The house wasn’t selling. The boss had gone back to assigning super-human deadlines.
Lana, feeling restless, began to write me with new goals for her life and for a new business she wanted to start. She was elated with her new ideas – but she didn’t know how to start them or where to begin.
That’s when I told her about Clingers.
Even though it’s natural to want new exciting things when our work gets tedious (as it certainly will when we’re clearing out old patterns and clutter) – the best thing we can do is commit to fully letting go of the Clingers first.
Of course we just want them to go away!
Of course it gets tedious!
It took a lot of unconscious behavior to allow them to take over our lives – and now it might take some work to be clear and let them go!
It is so tempting to “kinda half way sort of” complete these items.
“Oh well, so he’s still text messaging me twenty times a day. If I start a new business I won’t have to think much about it! And I can just turn off my cell phone.”
Melanie Benson Strick calls this “Bright Shiny Objects Syndrome.”
A good Bright Shiny Object will make you believe that you don’t have to face the Clingers anymore. Bright Shiny Objects can range from new business ideas to new clothes to a new upgraded romantic partner to a hot new investment.
This is totally natural and normal.
However, in my work with e-Seminar clients and retreaters, I’ve seen the same thing time and time again. If you don’t clear out your Clingers – continuing to set clear boundaries and intentions – then even if your Bright Shiny Object is a brilliant idea, you won’t be able to give it the level of attention it needs.
You’ll go through life trying new things with Clingers all over your pantaloons.
Gracie can tell you there’s nothing fun about that.
Lana got the message loud and clear. (She has four cats. I was totally speaking her language.)
She realized that she was almost clear of many of these old things. She could recognize the massive progress she had made. And she could also see that it wasn’t quite time to make a list of new big goals.
First, she had a little more letting go and getting clear to do.
She got in the trenches and dealt with the final issues, and has written me recently to say that she is finally able to set some new deeper intentions for herself, and that it’s the first time in a long time she feels clear about those intentions because she’s no longer trying to escape the Clingers! (I was so inspired that I devoted an entire article to the topic!)
So here are three clinger-related questions for you to ask yourself along the way:
1 – Is my life filled with things I really want, or just things I tolerate?
2 – What in my life am I not making decisions about in hopes they go away?
3 – What beliefs do I need to release before I move to the next level in my life?