Address book page in computer with unknown friend in address book

It’s a great new day.  I’m launching my new blog – and looking forward to lots of new subscribers, colleagues, and friends.

So why do I feel compelled to launch a fit of cleaning professional “house?”

It reminds me of what happens when I bring a piece of great clothing home– like my new Eileen Fisher jacket.  The piece feels great and fits who I am today. But as I hang it up, I notice my other clothes and start wondering – uh oh – what about that blouse, those pants, that skirt – are they still right for me???

This invariably leads to a fit of purging. (I love our local thrift store!)

But today, I’m thinking business, so I’m not cleaning my closets but tackling my address data base….

My family tells me that even as a toddler I was interested in connecting with people.  This applies to my professional contacts as well.  I don’t want to have names just to have names.  I want to care about those names.

So when I looked at my address book I was in for a shock: 2045 names.

2045  names?

Wow.  I hope that I’m likeable – but I don’t think I am connected to 2045 current friends, family members, colleagues, and services.

So who or what is in that list? It was time to find out, like opening the door to a closet full of stuff I don’t even remember. Or cleaning out “that drawer” in the kitchen.

I started to cull the list.  First, I went for low-hanging fruit: the vet who helped my dog who died thirteen years ago, the nice neighborhood bank that went bankrupt, the phone service that no longer exists.  And all those addresses that start “info@….”  from some purchase I made eons ago.

I found duplicate names – entered I’m sure by gremlins. Every time I “sync” data duplicates pop up like Janes@aol and janes@aol.

Then I searched for easy targets – like the 200 names from a meditation community I once was a part of.  I didn’t know some of those people then – and I sure don’t remember them now.  I kept the names of people I know.

The hard work begins

I found a few colleagues and friends who had died.  Sad.  I blessed and deleted them.

And all those unknowns!  I felt like I’d thrown a party at my house and it turned into an open house – I didn’t recognize half of the guests.  Time to send them home!!!

I turned the sorting process into a meditation.  I’d stare peacefully at each name for 10 seconds. If I had no clue who it was – bless and delete.

Why was I so naïve to think my great memory would last forever???  Note to self:  remember to add little notes with all new names: met at Improv conference in Berlin, etc.

Occasionally, I’d find names that brought up bad memories, people who wanted a different kind of instructor or consultant, and told me as much. Sometimes I have reconnected with one of them and heard how much he or she really learned in my program.  That’s been sweet! But often, seeing one of those names has been a way for me to stay stuck in the past.

It’s time to bless and let go. Let the new energy in!

I push that delicious delete button. It’s a weird kind of empowerment.  One stroke “sayonara”.

I already feel fresher.  More ready for this new world.  Ready to welcome new subscribers.

Bless and delete

Now some of you may think it contradictory to profess to care and then cavalierly delete contacts.  Well, I didn’t promise to be contradiction free!  And my tendons can only take so much repetitive stress before I begin to feel a lot less spiritually enlightened.

But I’m happy that the names I have kept mean something to me.  They’re real connections, people I want to learn from, talk to, write for, or call up and say, “It’s Sally.”

So now, before my wrist (and spirit) goes into carpal tunnel shock, I’ll stop for tonight and tackle the next thousand names tomorrow.