the key to lasting energy, let it all go

Nov. 2020

Fall is a time of letting go. Can you imagine what the trees might look like if, instead of letting their leaves fall, they hold onto them, year-after-year? At some point, all of the old, dead leaves will crowd out the new growth, and eventually, the tree will suffocate and die. 

In this analogy, we are the trees. Micro-traumas are our day-to-day negative experiences. Traffic on our morning commute, getting toilet paper stuck to our shoes, even reading or watching negative news can have a traumatic effect on our emotional well-being; micro-traumas are akin to the leaves of a tree. Instead of allowing these micro-traumas to fall away as the leaves of a tree in fall, we store them indefinitely, allowing them to suffocate our joy.

Visualize yourself standing on a dock, about to jump into a lake or river. Before jumping, you buckle a belt around your waist; to the belt, you attach all of life’s micro-traumas, each of these micro-traumas is represented by a rock, weighing 1-lb. After getting all of these on your belt, you jump into the water. Can you see or feel how difficult it is to keep yourself afloat?

The average person experiences micro-trauma more than 100 times per day, and we begin experiencing micro-trauma at birth. Now, I am no mathematician, but I do not think one needs to understand math to know that it would be physically impossible to do anything other than enjoy the ride to the bottom. Attachment will always bring pain and suffering. Think about breaking your leg; it hurts because the leg is attached to you. I will save the philosophical debate about bodily attachment for another day. 

How do I let go of my micro-traumas?

Great question!

One of the first exercises I like to do with my clients is ‘clearing the clutter.’ This exercise is not about cleaning, leave the dust, for now; it’s about getting rid of everything in your environment that you are tired of carrying around. 

I ask them to walk around their homes and simply examine all of their stuff. Furniture, trinkets, etc., and get rid of things that are just taking up space; they do not serve a purpose; you pack them around from house to house, forgetting the contents of the bins that are now duck taped together because they are decaying, as I’m sure, so is the shit inside them. 

Maybe you have a coffee table you have stubbed your toe on every time you walk past it. It is more than okay to say, ‘Hey, I’m just not a coffee table person, I’m a foot pillow, end-table kind of person.’

Or maybe you have stopped sitting on your couch because it has become a glorified pillow-holder. Your kids don’t sit on it anymore, they cannot put the pillows on the floor, nor can they see each other through the pillow mountains all around them, not to mention the blatant suffocating aspect of the situation. Family time has become, commenting on each other’s Facebook posts from their bedrooms. For heaven’s sake, get rid of the pillows!

How can getting rid of stuff help me get rid of micro-trauma?

The act of getting rid of material things elicits the phenomenon of emotional stuff resurfacing for us to ‘get rid’ of. 

Though we do not realize it, most of us use our physical home as the mental imagery for our brain. We store our emotions in much the same way that we keep the stuff in our homes. Something we say in coaching, how you do one thing is how you do anything; I have found that it could not be more accurate in this case. Here is an example; someone cuts you off in traffic, instead of just honking and cussing a little, you brood on it all day. While in a grocery store’s checkout line, you see a pillow that catches your eye; you buy it to make yourself feel better about the traffic douche from earlier. You take it home and throw it on your couch. You have just assigned a physical object as a place marker for a micro-trauma. 

Deciding to get rid of that pillow is likely to cause the resurfacing of the micro-trauma associated with the pillow. I ask my clients to keep a journal and take note of everything that comes up emotionally as they get rid of the physical stuff. When they have finished clearing the clutter, I ask them to revisit their micro-trauma list. As they read through each thing, they forgive the person for their action that brought them pain and forgive themself for holding on to it emotionally and physically, then they get rid of it and move on. 

This exercise has proven surprisingly powerful in boosting my client’s overall energy. They report feeling lighter. While energy does not have a measurable weight, it does have momentum. Momentum is the force or speed of movement. It’s like you have the universes’ most powerful fan aimed at you. You try to get to the fan and turn it off, but the wind generated by it makes it impossible. Learn to be like the trees and let it go. 

Five things you can do with your ‘junk’

  1. Sell it – One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It’s true; however, if you go with this option, give yourself a harsh deadline; if the stuff has not sold online after ten days or did not sell in a weekend yard sale, throw it away.
  2. Break it or burn it – There is something powerfully uplifting about destroying something that has been weighing you down. 
  3. Repurpose it – Can you break it down and turn it into art or something more useful? Are you going to do this immediately? If not, trash it. A garage full of “maybe projects” is still allowing yourself to hold onto something no longer serving you. 
  4. Throw it away – Are you starting to get the vibe that maybe you should just throw it all away from the get-go?
  5. Donate it – Giving something to someone for free so that they can make money seems foolish. Take your tax write-off receipts, add them up, and let that be a lesson to change your relationship to money and not make purchases when you feel any emotion. 

Don’t forget to wash your hands.

Talk soon.