If you’ve ever packed up and moved from one house to another, you know something of what the subconscious is like.

I’m not talking about the kind of move where someone else comes in and packs up all your stuff, even down to the ashes in the ash trays. I’m talking about the kind of move where you get down and get dirty and do the hard work of sorting and packing yourself.

Our minds, like our houses, are crammed full of stuff. Some of this stuff we keep because it serves an important functional purpose in our lives, like our furniture or our pots and pans.

Some of the stuff we keep to remind us of who we are – our photo albums, family pictures, souvenirs, memories that are dear and formative.

Some of the stuff in our lives we keep merely because it appeals to our esthetic sensitivities – the pictures on our walls, the sculptures, what-nots and bric-a-brac.

Some of the stuff bears witness to our intellectual interests: books, music, magazines that we keep and move from place to place because we hope to sometime get around to reading them.

But some of the stuff serves no purpose at all beyond that of cluttering our homes and our lives. Most of us who move with some frequency have boxes from a previous move that we have never unpacked and we now have no idea what’s in them. We schlep them from place to place merely because at some point we believed that the stuff in them was important to us. I have, on occasion, opened such a box and asked myself, ‘Now, why did I keep that?’

So it is with our subconscious. We’ve packed away everything – E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G – that has ever come into our minds. All the old impressions. Memories. Things we’ve heard. Instructions, explanations, corrections, imprecations, insults. Things we’ve done. Things that were done to us. We’ve packed them all away in our subconscious and for the most part, we’ve forgotten that they are even there.

The things in our subconscious, though, sometimes don’t stay neatly packed like those boxes we’ve forgotten about. The miscellany of our minds spills over into our daily lives. Remember, we’ve kept them because at one time they were important to us in defining who we were and who we were going to become. But all too often, if we unpack them and examine the contents, we discover that they are lies that are no longer true but still impact our lives merely because we’ve believed them for so long.

For instance, consider the process of learning to tie your shoes (back in the day when shoes were tied instead of velcroed). I have a vividly unpleasant memory of watching my brother-in-law try to teach my nephew to tie his shoes. I was little more than a kid myself and, as sorry as I felt for my nephew, I knew better than try to intervene.

Dad explained the art of shoe-tying, demonstrated it, and expected the kid to do it. When the kid failed, he lost patience.

First, he started grousing about how dumb the kid was. That was not an effective motivator; in fact, it seemed to make the kid almost catatonic from fear of doing it wrong. But Dad insisted. The kid tried again. Dad became more sarcastic and abusive: “You’re just not trying!” “Pay attention to what you’re doing!” “How are you going to amount to anything if you can’t even tie your own shoes?” “You think I’m going to be around to do it for you all the time?” (By now, I’m sure the kid was hoping not. I know I was.).

The verbal abuse continued and escalated until the Dad lost his temper altogether and gave the kid a smack up the side of the head. He decreed that the kid would just have to go barefoot for the rest of his life and that if the other kids laughed at him, it was his own fault. He yanked the kid’s shoes off his feet and threw them in the trash.

My nephew, now an adult, grew up convinced that he was stupid, that anything bad that happened (like his father ending up in prison for child abuse) was his fault, that he would never amount to anything. He is not stupid but his father’s prophecies, sadly, have come true because his father wrote the script of incompetence and implanted it in his subconscious.

When you move, you have to sort through all the stuff that has accumulated since the last move. You pack that which is useful, helpful, or meaningful and throw the rest away. We need to do the same thing, for time to time, with our subconscious minds. We do not have to allow ourselves to be defined by the lies that people told us when we were too young or powerless to defend ourselves.

We can clear out the old garbage and make room for the truth. And the truth, as the Bible says, will set us free.

Author's Bio: 

I am a Baby Boomer who is reinventing herself and an internet entrepreneur focusing on self-help for the Baby Boomer generation. I spent sixteen years serving as pastor in United Methodist congregations all over Kansas. Those congregations were made up primarily of Baby Boomer or older members, so I developed some expertise with the Baby Boomer generation. I am now on leave of absence and living in Atchison, Ks. with my thirty year old son and my cat. I also help my daughter, also living in Atchison, with three sons, ages 8, 6, and 18 mos, while their father is in Afghanistan. My website is found at http://www.for-boomers.com