Monday, March 22, 2010

Mental Hoarding.

I was visiting a friend, and the tv was on, one of those shows popular at the moment, about hoarding. She joked with me that she liked them because she felt like a certain home-making celebrity in comparison. I replied that I could recall when the inside of my head felt a lot like the inside of some of the featured dwellings - layer upon layer of old, mouldering, rotting stuff.

It consisted of attitudes that no longer fit me, but which I couldn't let go of, for fear I might be able to use them again: grudges from times past: old hurts, resentments, angers...all layered haphazardly upon one another, in ever-increasing piles, which tilted and wobbled dangerously, and made navigation problematic.

As a mental hoarder, I'd made my abode cramped, cluttered, and perilous.

From Hope for Today, page 111:

"Al-Anon has shown me that the answer lies not in letting go of people but in letting go of my outworn, painful thinking patterns to change into a more positive person."

And: "Letting go of what I do not truly need - whether it be old thoughts, things, or behaviors - makes room for new growth in my life."

"...what I do not truly need..." is, for me, the most significant phrase in that second quote. At one time, my old thoughts and behaviors may have been coping mechanisms which got me through difficult junctures in my life, but is that all I wish for myself, to continue to "get through?"

Wouldn't I prefer to flourish? Absolutely, I would. Well, then, that's another thing entirely; that requires sustained effort, and a good mental spring-cleaning. This is where Steps 4-9 come into play. It's all laid out for me, the "how." All I need to provide is the impetus, the momentum, the willingness, the desire. I must want the growth and change, more than I want the security of the mental clutter.


  1. Meditation for me is like daily (hopefully) spring cleaning. I can step back and few whatever clutter is there in a kind and loving light, knowing that I have the tools to clean up my inner house. A comforting post today.


  2. I was thinking this morning that Al-Anon to me is like De-Frag to my computer; helps me reorganize my stinking thinking and function more smoothly. That's a thought while I was working computer maintenance this morning. Good post; have a great day.

  3. Thanks for this post. It's timely for me. I had just read this reading yesterday as I was looking through my daily readers for thoughts on the topic of letting go.

    I didn't connect the dots at the time, but I also have a writing assignment from my sponsor, which was passed down though our line of sponsorship about just this topic: cleaning out our mental clutter. How much time we're spending on it, and what we need to leave behind this year.

    You gave me food for thought. Thanks.