Workshop to address downsizing fears

A workshop set to be held in Sylvan Lake is offering assistance and support for people who have trouble letting go of personal possessions

A workshop set to be held in Sylvan Lake is offering assistance and support for people who have trouble letting go of personal possessions that may be of spiritual and emotional importance.

The workshop, scheduled for Oct. 8 at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre, is aimed primarily at people who struggle with transitions, explains Lyn Lamers, education co-ordinator for Shalom Counselling Centre.

“Part of transitions is downsizing, and what to do with all this stuff,” she said. “It’s not just a physical struggle, it’s very much an emotional struggle … and when you just take it right off the top, it doesn’t seem like a very serious thing, but it can just stop people’s lives.”

Through counselling, Lamers has seen how deep-seated problems with letting go can become, often leading to the discovery of more complicated emotional issues.

The workshop, she said, “hit a chord” with participants when it was piloted in Red Deer last spring, and she’s hoping to see the same positive response in Sylvan Lake.

“People just poured their hearts out, and they needed to see other that were struggling with the same problem, because they thought that they were unique and struggling alone, and what’s the big deal?” she said. “Unfortunately, it is a big deal for those going through it.”

In older generations, physical items may accumulate over periods of up to 80 years in length, according to Lamers.

Presentations and round-table group discussions, she said, will aim to help them determine which of those items are worth keeping, and which should be discarded.

“So many memories come up, and there’s so many reasons to keep the things we keep,” she said. “We’re not telling them to throw it all out. We give them the tools to learn how to differentiate stuff from junk, from treasures.”

Though longer life allows more time for stuff to be accumulated, the workshop isn’t open exclusively to seniors, said Lamers. Rather, she feels it’s something from which a large cross-section of the population can benefit.

“The energy in the room is amazing,” she said. “It’s just a good thing, and it’s something that we want to share with as many people as we can, because so many struggle with it.”

The workshop will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Information on registration and fees is available by calling 403-342-0339.