Sunday, July 8, 2007

Uncluttered: Emotionally Attached Why our 'things' mean so much to us

by Patricia Diesel

I was so thankful when a student of mine from the Learning Annex, Phil Stern, e-mailed me The New York Times Theater Review for "Gone Missing."

Phil wrote, "Here's a snippet that illustrates why I think this may be of interest to you:"

"Other experts heard from include a lecturer from the Learning Annex, who teaches courses on 'how to rid your life of clutter'."

My curiosity was piqued at this point, so I contacted the producing director, Kyle Gorden, to get the details of how "Gone Missing" came to be. Not only was Gorden polite and informative, but he also directed me to his press person, Jon Dimond, who offered two complimentary tickets, which to my good fortune, were next to Steven Cosson, the founding artistic director.

What I love about this theatrical dirge is how it acknowledges our emotional attachment to our "things" by brilliantly illustrating our sense of loss through everyone and anyone's experiences when their most cherished possessions are missing.

From missing jewelry to a Gucci shoe to a sock doll named Sniffle, "Gone Missing" depicts, with a sense of humor, very relatable life stories of how we cling to our memories to fill the void over losing something.

Take for instance the character of "Laura" who believes she lost her black Gucci pump while enjoying herself downtown one evening.

Frantic and anxiety ridden, Laura decides to post flyers, sets herself up with a point of contact e-mail address and continually calls a theater (where she thinks she lost it) with hopes her shoe will be found. After all, what good is one Gucci pump is the premise here.

Laura's story brought an ache to my heart when I thought about the time I lost my first ring. It was my birthstone, ruby red, given to me for my 10th birthday. The effort I put into trying to find that ring -- backtracking every step, over and over. Calling friends, searching high and low, oh the mourning I did over that ring.

The recollection of Sniffle, a sock doll belonging to a little girl named Ingrid that was mistakenly left behind while on vacation, and then thrown out in a dumpster, created a course of drama. Ingrid's mom lovingly tells the tales of woe with so much heart that it made me remember the time my father threw out my childhood Raggedy Anne Doll while cleaning up the basement after I got married.

"Gone Missing" is not only composed of stories, but songs to give you the extra zinger needed to identify with the grieving of loss. They did a great job of capturing the essence of a broken heart in the song, "I Gave It Away." I think anyone who has been jilted in a relationship can identify with these lyrics:

"So if you're missing your clothes you left by the side of the bed, I gave them away."

I mean come on, this is painfully funny! I certainly wasn't leaving that evening without purchasing their CD, "The Civilians -- Objects & Geese."

As a life coach, I believe that in the game of life there are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason so we can learn something. It's up to us what we do with that information.

I think this awesome and delightful experience with "Gone Missing" was presented to me because of the similarities of how working with my clients is so much about letting go of the things we are attached emotionally to. Whether we willingly release or painstakingly lose our possessions, we always have our memories to remind us of how precious they really are.

Patricia Diesel owns and operates Keep It Simple Now, a professional organizing company that offers a coaching approach and hands-on applications for achieving an organized life. Visit Her column appears every Sunday in On the Run.