Got Clingers? - Christine Kane

[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?

  • Antonella

    My doggie Grace (!) sometimes does the same (luckily for me outside the house). Clingers I definitely have and this analogy will make me even more aware of them, in a funny way (currently trying to get rid of them with kundalini yoga and intntions)
    Thanks a lot Christine.

  • Kay

    Well, there for the first part, I thought “Poor Christine, she’s been working too hard and has gone over the edge!” but, as I read on, naturally, I got it. Not a cat person, and now I never will be 🙂 A powerful analogy and I appreciate you and others sharing so that we might benefit. Thanks.

  • Laure

    Wow! Coming from a household with three cats – that’s quite the visual!! And apparently just what I needed. Your questions about what am I tolerating and what am I not making decisions about in the hope it will go away could not possibly be more on target. Time to sit down and deal with some clingers. BTW, we call them dingle balls . . . .

    Thanks for the visual – and the wake up call.

  • Amy

    Loved how you tied all this together. I think I’m clinger-free at the moment, but I’ve got to be on constant alert for new ones cropping up.

    Now – where is question #4?? 🙂

  • Faith

    Oooo, yes, I definitely have to send some emails and move some processes further along! I’ve got a couple of hefty clingers I need to finish dealing with… (OK, the mental picture that just went with that statement is a little graphic, but…) 🙂 Tell Gracie thanks for the inspiration!

  • Wendi Kelly-Life’s Little Inspirations

    These are great questions for my journal. I am copying them down and will do some thinking on them. Great job!

  • Laura

    Thank you, Christine! I have this HUGE clinger – my dissertation! It is tedious, even though I’ve made significant progress; I can say I’m on the second half. It is so easy to get distracted by loads of bright shiny ideas, none of which seem to be the least bit tedious. Thanks, for the encouragement to stick with the clinger until it’s gone! Hugs, Laura

  • sheista

    1 – Is my life filled with things I really want, or just things I tolerate?

    This question was like having cold water thrown in my face~before 7am! 🙂

    I was thinking of my “clingers” while reading, but this was very eye opening for me. My thoughts have turned to a new directions. Thanks for posing it.

  • pati

    Hi Christine,

    Oh, my. How timely. I’ve got a few biggies, but wonder if I could touch base on an imminent one. My boss reports to a fellow I work for on a project (let’s call him the big boss). So, when the big boss tells my boss he “thinks” I’m doing something wrong, my boss comes down on me. The big boss often thinks he knows the technical work that I do, but he doesn’t. My boss doesn’t want to upset the big boss. I went through this last year and kept my mouth shut. Now, as you probably guessed, I’m mad. I want to stand up for myself, but feel I’m between a rock and a hard place. This project ends mid-November. I’ve decided not to do another one after that. But, what about now. How do I stand up for myself, yet, somehow maintain peace. As I write, I may be answering my own question (whose peace). I could use a boost. Thanks, p

  • Deb

    This is really weird. One would think you’ve been candid camera-ing my life of late.

    But it is confusing too.