Your Snag List…

…is a list you create of all the things that:

  • you’re meaning to do “someday”
  • dreams and fantasies from the past that keep “popping up” or “hanging around”
  • issues that you really are planning to sort out… some day… but — not right now…
  • mental baggage better left… at the “Lost & Found” or “Left Luggage” – that fight you had with that guy (“what was his name? what was his name?”) when you were in High School; that memory of things unfinished (from your point of view) but that time has declared finished. All thoughts of “If only…” (write them down here).
  • projects that you are going to get back to someday (and you have all the tools and materials in the garage… or is it in the attic? … basement?
  • apologies, thank you’s, and anything that wasn’t said when it was supposed to be said (but still comes back in the night from time to time)
  • things you are hanging on to that are broken or in disrepair that you are definitely going to get around to
  • any and all things, events, actions or outputs that are in a state of being partially completed, partially abandoned, incomplete or otherwise hanging around in mind or home or office, unresolved – for any length of time.

Keep the Snag List safe but accessible.

It’s another list to re-visit from time to time and re-arrange, perhaps dispose of some items, resolve them or otherwise complete them… but of course, some of them… well… they’re like your personal museum collection aren’t they.

The Snag List HOLDS the things that you are not ready or willing to relinquish. In truth; most Snag List items can be dealt with effectively and permanently, but we cling to insisting on spurious conditions and criteria – essentially fighting yesterday’s battles, with only our own reflections in the mirror.

The Snag List is important because it gives you a place to rest your mind. If it is on the paper; it is OUTSIDE of you.

We are quite primitive in this sense. It’s a kind of perceptual magic – if something is outside; we don’t have to think about it, and if we do think about, we can point to the paper and say to ourselves “This is already on the paper and I’m not dealing with it now.”

If something persists (listen closely now): WRITE IT OUT and add it to your list.

I had a trainee present me with a whole thick notebook of snags and confessions and bad feelings and incompletes and sorrows.

I said, “What is this for?” and she said, “I want you to take this from me.” I said, “But these are YOUR snags.

I have my own, and to be frank (and with no offense intended), YOUR snags won’t work on me – I didn’t do your life; you did.

You have to deal with them. I can give you the rubbish bag, I can point to things and say ‘That thing you’re hanging onto… it’s rubbish’ but you still have to throw it out, take it to the curb, take it to the dump… just get rid of it.”

“But there’s so much of it.” And I said “Take every single item in that… volume of stuff and sort it into one of three piles:

  1. Can’t do anything about.
  2. Have no real intention to do something about.
  3. Can do something about.

When you’ve done that, come back to me.”

She came the next day to the training with three piles (I didn’t expect this, you see).

She said “Now what?” and I said “Take pile ‘1) Can’t do anything about’ and put it here.” It was more than half the piles… a huge amount of paper.

I said, “Here is a trash can. Please tear up each page, one at time, crumbling the pieces into a ball, as you throw each ball into the bin say ‘since I can’t do anything about this; I cast it in the trash forever’. Let me know when you’re done.”

After aabout an half hour she came back, looking considerably brighter.

I said “now with pile ‘2) have no real intention to do something about’ – do the same but say ‘since I have no real intention to do anything about this; I cast it in the trash forever, asking for release and forgiveness for my part, and for all involved.’ Off you go. Come back when you’re done.”

When she came back she looked different – serious, but fully present, with her “feet on the ground”. I said, “now the final pile…”, she interrupted “… the same as the others?”, I said “Oh goodness! NO! You’re not getting off that easy.

With pile ‘3) Can do something about.’ – I want you to go item by item and work out precisely what you ARE going to do to address all those frustrating snags you tried to make me responsible for. I want plans and dates. Come back when you are done.”

And you know what… she never came back.

A few years later, I received a post card with a picture of a clown holding a book with the pages flying out everywhere.

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