Time’s Up! What’s Your Exit Strategy?

Imagine being in a weekly bridge group for 44 years and wanting out. This is the dilemma a friend of mine has found himself in. To the outsider, it seems easy. Tell the other person(s) you are leaving and go.

Well, it’s really not that simple. A lot of personal information is shared during those meetings. You become privy to the intimacies of what’s going on with those other people, and you’ve probably shared some pretty personal stuff yourself. It can feel like being stuck in a sticky spider’s web. If you lift your foot to leave, you end up with half the web stuck to your shoe.

You probably know “those people” more than you care to. Not all the information is discussed at the meeting, but may be gleaned on the sidelines. It can come from other sources, like mutual friends or even the newspaper.

The Elephant on the Table

One day when reading the newspaper my weekly bridge-playing friend discovered that one of his bridge partners broke the law. Yep, he read it in the newspaper! This was no small crime, but a pretty hefty embezzlement. You are probably wondering how the subject was broached at the bridge table? Well, it never was. They just kept playing bridge. You can imagine what everyone was thinking, yet nothing was said.

How many times have you gotten together with “friends” and had a running subtext going on in your head? That subtext might go like this, “Why did I say yes again? I am done with these folks. I am ready to find someone else who I can connect with more honestly or who I can grow with or learn from.” While this is going on, the “outer you” is congenial, friendly and, above all else, pleasant.

What Keeps Us Tied In?

When this conflict keeps turning your stomach in knots, this is when you must go within. You’ve got to ask yourself some tough questions. What keeps me coming back? What’s my role in the group or with that other person? What would happen if I left? Could my leaving affect relationships that my family members or other close friends have with members of the group? Answering those questions may cause you to feel that spider web getting stickier. Don’t let that stop you.

Guilt weighs heavily in this equation. By ending your commitment, you might think you are letting the other person(s) down. Of course, this is all supposition, because you probably haven’t asked the other person(s) how he/she (they) feels if you were to leave. And what if they pitch a fit and beg you not to leave? Does that mean you can’t? Did you make a lifetime commitment when you agreed to join this group or meet regularly with these persons? I bet you did not.

And how many times have people left you or a group you are in? You got over it, right? My bridge-playing friend has seen people come and go throughout the 44 years he’s played with these cronies. He’s now found another bridge group that plays at a higher level. He wants to leave. In fact, he’s straddling the line. He’s already playing with the new group, wants to ditch the old, but feels he cannot.

What’s Important?

The simple answer is YOU—how you feel and how you spend your time. A long-time friend once told me when I was wrangling with a decision that involved others, “Do what is best for you. Because whatever you decide will be best for everyone else.” It took me awhile to wrap my arms around that, but the more I applied that philosophy to any decision I made, the more it felt right and made sense.

Why spend time with people just to assuage your guilt, which, by the way, rarely works? If those other people knew you felt guilty, they probably wouldn’t want you to hang around. Don’t you have better things to do that inspire happiness or expand your mind? If you find yourself bored with others’ company or stopped from moving into new areas of learning because the group wants to stay right where it is, then ask yourself why are you there? Guilt is not a good enough answer.

The old cliché “People come into our lives for a season, a reason or a lifetime,” seems to fit here. These groups we join or alliances we make fit into one of these categories. I suspect a season or a reason is the optimal choice in this discussion. Which is it for you? Has the reason been fulfilled or the season ended? If it has, then time’s up. Be kind, honest, and diplomatic. Give thanks and then say “Good-bye.”

Ask the Question

September 7, 2016

Years ago I was having no luck in the relationship department.  A divorce by the time I was 29 and then several failed relationships followed me well into my forties and early fifties.  I kept telling myself, “I am a nice person. Why can’t I have a decent relationship?”

My blurred vision obscured the fact I was the one constant in each equation.  Years of psychotherapy wrested the cataracts from my eyes so I could see the role I played in every choice and action I made.  If I was going to progress and move beyond my hamster-wheel of failed relationships, I had to ask the question, “What was/is my role in all of this?”

Extracting those cataracts wasn’t easy.  In fact, making sense of what propelled me to choose Mr. X or continue with Mr. Z, felt like scraping wallpaper off a wall.  Issues like self-worth, abandonment and neediness had to be identified and explored for me to understand why things hadn’t worked out.  Of course, wading through all of this was painful.  Oh, my gosh, very painful.

Who Makes The Decision?

Recently a friend of mine shared her relationship blues.  This made me reflect on my own vertiginous past.  Only when I discovered I was the decision maker of my life did I see things differently.

My friend had broken up with a man after dating 10 months.  They had gone back and forth ending it several times.  Finally my friend told herself and him, “This is it!  I am DONE!”  She called it “OVER!”

In this day and age when texting is the premiere way of communicating, he decides to send her a text.  In fact, a complimentary one.  Being polite and not wanting to appear insensitive or rude, she feels obliged to send a thank you.  He returns the text.  She responds and soon the entire exchange turns ugly once again.

Now, you may be scratching your head and asking, “What went wrong?”  It’s easy to make a judgment here.  She told him it was over.  He writes her.  She responds.  However, if it were truly “OVER” for her, why did she respond to the text?  Because when she responded, she chose to continue the conversation.

The Could-Have-Been Moment of Truth

This is where it can get confusing.  By responding, did she somehow want to continue the conversation?  Even though she wanted to end it, perhaps she wasn’t ready to do so.  There were many good parts to the relationship.

When she was deciding whether to respond could have been the moment of truth, had she asked herself, “What am I doing?  Why am I doing it?”  What if she had taken time to understand her own feelings?  A part of her loved what they had together and didn’t want to let it go, but another part of her most definitely did not and was ready to sever the tie.

How can she best be true to herself?  Only she can answer that.  To get the answer, she is best served to take time to sift through her feelings about the relationship in order to understand “What am I doing?  Why am I doing it?”

The Grand Scheme

When we take the time to understand our choices and behavior, we learn why things unfold as they did and do.  We more clearly see our role in each relationship.  We begin to see the red flags when they pop up.  Instead of pushing them aside, we pick them up when they appear and examine why they appeared.

We can be more objective and begin to choose more carefully with whom we spend time and share the vulnerable parts of ourselves.  It’s all part of the grand scheme of life—learning and evolving.  Let’s not only ask the question; let’s take time to explore our feelings and discover the answer.

I never paid much attention to angels until I heard angel maven Doreen Virtue of Hay House fame recount an experience she had when she was with a friend, who was about to celebrate her birthday. They were browsing a collection of scarves in a small store that didn’t take credit cards. Doreen’s friend saw a scarf she loved, but the friend decided to hold off buying it.

Doreen then decided as a way of celebrating her friend’s birthday, she would buy it for her. Guess what? She remembered she didn’t have any cash. Relying on her trusty relationship with the angels, she asked for their help to seal the purchase. When she opened her wallet, there it was, just enough money to pay for the scarf, including the sales tax.

Why Not Write A Note?
I tucked that story away for several years, until a good friend of mine reminded me I could write a note to my angels. A long-time client (seven years to be exact) started to question my work. My work included bookkeeping and managing her personal files. I hadn’t changed my approach or attitude, but she had lost her husband of many years and her health was declining (she was in her eighties). Our weekly sessions together were becoming argumentative and I wondered if I should just quit.

The evening before our next appointment I pulled out a journal, poised to write. All of a sudden another situation came careening into my thoughts. Four months before I had had an automobile accident. Coincidentally it was on the way to meet with this same client. A car had backed into my car while I was stopped at a stop sign on a narrow street. The driver was making a U-turn and even though I honked, it was a second too late. The insurance company had decided I was at fault. Why? I am still unsure.

As I discussed the situation with my insurance adjuster, she suggested I submit this case to “Arbitration”—what I call the car insurance appeal board. When I asked how likely it would be to get the decision overturned, her response was, “Not likely and it will take awhile.” With nothing to lose and not feeling sanguine, I said, “Let’s do it.”

Back to My Journal
I had hardly given a thought to this arbitration case since discussing it with the adjuster, but with my journal in front of me and my pen in hand, why not write two notes? Both were addressed to the Angel of Harmony. The first one asked for a swift decision by the arbitration board. I would accept any decision they made, providing it was fair and just, but if the Angel of Harmony could do his/her best to prevent an increase to my premium, I would really appreciate that.

The second note requested a harmonious meeting the next morning with my client. I had no idea what to expect. When I arrived, she asked me to pull old files she hadn’t looked at for years. We sat together in her office. She perused her files and I did my usual bookkeeping tasks. Throughout the entire morning, in between bursts of laughter and sighs, she thanked me several times for bringing these files to her attention. They evoked wonderful memories for her. All the while, I am thanking the angels for the great job they are doing! Oh, let me not forget to tell you this: As I was about to leave, she invited me for lunch, an invitation I received only once before during my seven years of working for her.

A Few Days Later
My angel letter writing took place on a Thursday evening. The meeting with my client was on Friday. Let’s fast forward to Monday morning, when I was on my landline talking to the same friend who suggested I write to the angels. During that conversation another call came through. Since I have call-waiting, I decided I would pick up the message once we finished our conversation.

A minute later my cell phone rang. I told my friend I should probably get that call. We ended our conversation and I picked up my cell. If you are following my story, you can guess who was calling me. Yes, the insurance adjuster! She called to tell me that the board met and decided in my favor. I would receive a check within the next few days for the deductible I paid several months ago. This meant my premium would not increase.

Wow! I started dancing. In between my dance steps I bowed to my angels. Thank you for this outcome. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! The arbitration board must have met on Friday—something I had no idea was going to happen.

All this is to say that if you’ve got a puzzling problem, why not write to your angels? You can ask without writing, but since I like to receive written notes, I bet they do, too. Ask for relatively small things at first. I bet you’ll decide this is definitely a technique worth trying.

Starving and Obsessed

May 13, 2016

As a Tarot card reader, I am given the privilege of hearing people’s deepest desires, searing hurts and glorious dreams. I am honored to be privy to such intimacies.  In the searing hurts category, many come with a broken heart or one that is breaking.  More often than not I wish I could wave a magic wand and say, “You’re healed.”  But it doesn’t work that way.

Countless times people come to me stunned.  Someone they shared intimacies with has now blocked their calls and  texts. That “other person” has vanished without a goodbye or any indication they’ve chosen to recede into the annals of the past.  No discussion, no declaration that “We’re done here!”, no leaving in a huff.

This, to me, is a cowardly, despicable act, and it is so painful to the one on the receiving end.  Maybe the best way to describe the anguish my clients feel is being thrown out of a moving car and left by the side of the road—pretty much like roadkill.  The one left behind asks repeatedly, almost addictively, “What did I do? Why has this happened to me?”

The most asked question clients who’ve been through this scenario want answered is “Will I get back together with him/her?  Is there a chance?”  Some of the more wounded will bark, “That person will never find anyone as good as I am!”  Angry and bereft, they’re left starving for something they thought they had and obsessed with the disbelief they don’t.

The answer is not as simple as many would believe.  Subtleties, nuances and denial come into play.  By the time someone in this state of anguish comes to me, it’s likely it’s not the first time this has happened.  So, what transpired for this to happen again…and again?

Jumping the Gun

Perhaps it’s haste in making a judgment.  I, too, have had such experiences.  Finally with the help of a therapist I discovered I was the common denominator in each scenario.  Switching my focus from blaming the other person to taking responsibility was not a pretty picture.  You might think it was easy to flip the switch, but it wasn’t.

I had to ask myself, “What caused me to pick the wrong person time and time again?”  First, I had to accept that I PICKED the person.  How could this be?  I was always looking for that magical zing.  The zing consisted mainly of the externals.  Was he good looking?  Did he have a good job?  Was he fun to be with?  Was he nice?  When I would meet a Mr. X, the zing had to be there and pretty instantaneously.  I concluded I wasn’t the one choosing Mr. X, but rather it was just a synchronous, albeit magical, encounter.

For the longest time I couldn’t admit I was making a choice based on external factors without getting better acquainted with the internal factors, the true makeup of his character.  I would attach myself to a person I didn’t really know.  I’ve since discovered it takes time to know someone—to really know.

Patterns Set By Our Parents

Now, this is where it gets tricky.  A good therapist can help you see how patterns set by your parents play a role.  For me, my father left an indelible imprint—he died when I was 10.  As an adult I would consistently choose partners who couldn’t be there for me either emotionally or physically or both.

Subconsciously the unavailable man was attractive to me.  I told myself that if I couldn’t keep my father alive, perhaps I could keep my relationships alive with the unavailable man.  I would do this with what therapists call—manipulation.  Unbeknownst to me until I finally wised up, I used manipulation as one of tools in my arsenal to hold onto a relationship.  When I did this, I was a shocked to discover I wasn’t being true to myself.  And I was  exhausted doing this time after time.

The Big Kahuna—I Must Not Be Worthy

The biggest reveal I learned from all this was my sense of self-worth.  If asked whether I was worthy of a wonderful, loving relationship, I would respond without hesitation that I am.  All my clients are, too.  But the subconscious is a stealthy predator.  For reasons we don’t always know, our subconscious self tells us we aren’t and then keeps directing us to the choices that are the perfect fit for fulfilling our diminished sense of self-worth.  For me, that would be choosing the unavailable man time and again.

For most of us, it takes time to understand this.  As our awareness grows, the kinds of choices that didn’t work for us in the past are not worth hanging onto.  We can choose to no longer passively stand by and wait for the other person to direct the relationship.  Instead we decide for ourselves and take whatever steps are necessary to end an unhealthy relationship.  In fact, once we’ve figured it out and we are ready to engage in a healthy relationship, the available partner will show up.  Not always on our timeline, but at a time and in a way that works best for both parties.

 Why Can’t We Bypass All This?

It turns out we all come into this life with specific lessons to learn.  These painful relationships are a catalyst for us to grow physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  The sooner we get the lesson of each painful experience, we can move on.  Other lessons await us.  We progress.

Sometimes, though, we get only a piece of the lesson.  We may feel as if we are back where we started.  We aren’t.  Through each experience in intimate relationships we become more aware of our role in that situation.  We have choices at all times.  Knowing this, we are empowered to change, for the better, for ourselves.

Many people are averse to taking responsibility for what occurs in their life.  Looking within doesn’t seem to be an option.  After all, it’s got to be the other guy’s fault.  Introspection, however, is a necessary step to seeking and keeping a happy, healthy relationship.  Gaining awareness as to why we make the choices we make is essential.  A Tarot card reading can help us go within when we are in a relationship turmoil, or when we are ending or beginning one.

Clutter, Clutter Everywhere

September 28, 2015

Everyone has clutter. For some it’s not visible, but the mental residue of unwanted thoughts and worries rests in their mind. For others, a pile here and a pile there are periodically swept away and then a new pile is born.

But what about the person who feels the need to cover every flat surface in her home with a multitude of crystals, knickknacks, and tchotchkes? Or the person who has so many clothes, she cannot fit them all into her closets and bureaus? Or the person who cannot get through the endless stacks of paper that confront him in his home office, on his kitchen counter or covering his coffee table?

Why does clutter exist?

What I’ve learned during the past 10 years of helping people de-clutter is to listen to each client’s back-story, because in that story lie the reasons why the clutter exists and persists. In most cases there is loss or trauma hidden underneath all the stuff. How much clutter there is at the present time and how it is handled depends on the degree to which the trauma has been dealt with.

Those who have undergone a loss or a trauma have a critical need to feel safe. Job loss, death of a loved one, a sudden disability, or a violation of any sort is an example of such trauma. Tangible, physical items, like clothes, shoes, cars, or even paper, can give the illusion of safety and control. Since most of us determine what we bring into our home, the single act of buying an item we want but don’t need can give us a sense of control—control that didn’t exist when or after the trauma occurred.

Why is there such resistance to addressing clutter?

Most people don’t realize there is a whole lot more to clutter than just stuff. Having possessions is a wonderful distraction. Anything you own means you have to manage it, store it, maintain it, repair it, use it, clean it, or display it. When you have too much of it, it becomes clutter. We Americans have the wherewithal to buy lots of stuff we don’t need. Why do we do it? Because we can and because it soothes us temporarily. I suspect, though, there are other reasons.

If we were to probe more deeply, we might discover the feelings that propel us to acquire unnecessary, excess stuff. If we were to face these feelings squarely, we might call a halt to the endless influx of stuff we allow and usually welcome into our homes. This is not easy to do. In fact, this is a profound realization, and when people get it, they are willing to start dealing with their clutter in a deep and lasting way.

No Response is A Response

October 21, 2014

Have you ever written someone an e-mail message asking a question and never gotten a response?  Or left a voice mail message requesting a call-back?  I can answer a resounding “Yes!” to both.  In most cases the person I am writing to knows me.  We have been friends or had a business relationship, and he or she has never expressed dissatisfaction regarding our connection.  This kind of communication roadblock drives me crazy.

I agree we’re all bombarded by texts, e-mails and voice mail.  No matter what, I still think I merit a response.  One therapist I went to a long time ago, when I was bemoaning a man I was dating who hadn’t called me back, told me the scoundrel had answered me.  It’s called “No Response” or as Greg Berendt and Liz Tucillo so aptly titled their book He’s Just Not That Into You, The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys.  

I must be delusional, because I thought those people I wrote to or called were into me enough to write or call me back.  I thought they were into me enough to open and read the e-mail I sent, but my best friend informs me they probably deleted it before opening it.  That shocked me.  And, of course, it could have even gone into their Spam folder.  This saddens me more than I am willing to admit.

Why Be Sad?

But, why be sad?  Perhaps one reason is that I gave more meaning to a relationship than it was due.  I feel deeply enough about the interactions I have had with a person that it feels worth holding onto.  In the past I credited myself as a good judge of character.  I thought I knew when a particular relationship was worth my time and energy.  Lately, though, that’s all changing.  Relationships I considered close are not so close.  People’s interests are shifting.  Demands on our time are relentless.

I keep thinking there’s more to it.  When people don’t respond to e-mail messages I send just to them, I start questioning the nature of the relationship.  Somewhere along the way a judgment was made and I wasn’t in on it.  The other person has moved onto other things more tantalizing, fulfilling, and worthwhile, or new demands, even a crisis, may have usurped their time.  He or she no longer sees the need to pump energy into our relationship.  Here’s what’s so disconcerting:  The decision probably wasn’t conscious or arbitrary.

It reminds me of a buffet.  The buffet’s first course has been well picked over and now a second, more delectable course replaces it.  Those people I wanted to hear back from have gotten up to get the second course.  Meanwhile, I’m still eating the servings I loaded on my plate from the first.  I’m not ready to return to the buffet table for the second course.  Or worse, the helpings I took when the first course was served were just too big.  If I had taken smaller portions, I could have gone back for the second round when the others did.

Decision by Others

What troubles me the most is other people’s decision to move on without some sort of closure, without informing me things are changing and what we have will be different from what we had.  This makes me remember the day I came home from school (I was ten) and learned my father had left our house on a stretcher by ambulance.  A neighborhood friend, someone I wasn’t even that close with, told me she had witnessed his departure.  No one told me this would happen.  How could someone else I didn’t even know that well see what I should have seen?

My father hadn’t been feeling well all summer and couldn’t join me for Father’s Day at day-camp.  He was beginning to spend a lot of time in bed away from his medical practice as an obstetrician/gynecologist.  Unbeknownst to me, he was diagnosed with cancer and it was progressing.  Occasionally other doctors would come to the house to see him.  Since I knew these doctors as my parents’ friends, I thought the visits were meant to give support, not to diagnose the progress of his disease.

Things started changing.  Out of the ordinary gestures became routine.  Instead of my mother driving us to school, one of my brother’s classmates picked us up each morning.  People brought casseroles to the house.  Friends stopped by for no apparent reason.  Relatives started showing up.  I thought I heard people whispering, but no audible sounds were heard.  Something was being said, and I knew deep-down it wasn’t good.

Time to Move On

My mother made decisions that affected my two brothers and me.  She took us twice to visit my father during the four weeks of his hospital stay.  The second and last visit was the most disturbing.  One part of his hospital bed was tilted so he appeared sitting up.  An oxygen tent–something I had never seen before I walked into his room–encased him.  I remember he was lucid and carried on a normal conversation, but nothing about the visit was normal.  I couldn’t hug him, kiss him or snuggle up to him.  He was untouchable.  I didn’t understand it.  I was ten, unable to ask questions or figure out what was going on.

On October 13, 1958, my father died.  I knew my father was ill, but I didn’t know he was dying.  No one informed me his situation was so dire.  How could this have happened?  What happened?  If only I had known, perhaps I could have done something about it.  I would have written him letters that might have consoled him.  Or I would have asked to visit him more.  Perhaps I could have been a participant, rather than a side-lined child.  More importantly, perhaps I could have prepared myself for a loss that has colored my entire life.

Those same feelings of being a side-lined child surface today when people don’t answer my e-mails, calls or letters.  I am aware something is no longer as it was, but no one told me what that is.  People are so busy.  Finding the time to let me know that a situation or a level of relationship has changed is not their priority.  I can ask.  I can keep sending e-mails or make repeated calls, but when the answer is “No Response,” I must remember what my therapist said long ago, “No Response is A Response.”  I must somehow come to terms with the silence, accept what is, and let it go.  I know it’s time to move on and be open to what presents itself to me now.

A Drawer Full of Bracelets

September 26, 2014

I had been working with a client for two days when we gathered all her bracelets together and put them into one drawer.  It measured about 14″ long, 10″ wide and 6″ deep.  One drawer with these dimensions would surely hold all her bracelets, but it didn’t.  We had to move to the drawer below it to handle the overflow.

How man bracelets are we talking about?  Maybe 200, 300, I don’t know.  What kind of bracelets?  Bangles, charm, ones with elastic, plastic, glass, semi-precious stones, gold, silver, oh, so many!  Delicate, clunky, colorful, tasteful, quiet and tinkling.  If the bracelets were candy, you could satiate your sweet tooth for years to come.

The Excess Made Me Ponder

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I left my client.  In fact, it’s troubled me.  If those were my bracelets, I wouldn’t be able to remember what I had.  They would have to be in some order for me to see them and to choose which one(s) I would wear.

We had simply consolidated them.  They had been scattered throughout her bedroom.  Because they were now jumbled into two drawers, my client would have to “paw” through them to find the bracelet she was looking for.  In the process, she might come across one she had forgotten and probably pull that one from the pile, losing interest in her first choice.  If she were determined to find a particular one, I suspect it would take precious time to find it.

The excess made me sad, and, please forgive me, but I have made a judgment. No one needs this many bracelets, not even Lady Gaga.  Jewelry is an easy thing to purchase.  Earrings, bracelets and necklaces are portable.  You don’t need a truck to cart them home.  Once you’ve paid for the merchandise, you can slip these pieces into your purse or pocket and off you go.  What, I wonder, inspires my client to buy so many and so often?  Perhaps it is that sense of instant gratification.  Or the fun of feeding her “guilty pleasure” to have a new piece of jewelry to “jazz up” her outfits.

There is More to This Picture

My client told me she likes to dress up when she goes to work.  Her clothes, jewelry and shoes are all part of a picture she enjoys composing every workday morning.  For her, putting together outfits is like artwork, and the fact she can create a unique and different picture every day is important to her.  I respect her desire to look good and her ability to tap into her creativity.  Still no one needs this many bracelets to feel as creative as Picasso.

Jewelry and all the other materials we clothe ourselves with are—in a word—a cover.  These external items, some of which are beautiful, can distract us from something more important—our inner self.  When we preoccupy ourselves with stuff, be it jewelry, clothing, cars, or stacks of paper, we lose sight of this inner self and the balance required to lead a healthy life.  We choose to look outside ourselves, where our ego’s voice can be heard loud and clear.  We compare ourselves with others, coveting what others have and judging ourselves, which causes unrest and anxiety.

My client lives in a state of distress.  How do I know?  I’ve worked in her home.  Home is a reflection of one’s inner spirit.  When clutter litters the home, it sends the message that something is out of balance.  In my client’s case, something is seriously out of balance.  It wasn’t just an abundance of bracelets, but also clothes, shoes, purses, and books.

In her seminal book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, Karen Kingston lists the many ways clutter can affect us.  Here are a few:

  • Clutter can congest your body.  My client has digestive issues.
  • Clutter can cause disharmony.  My client’s husband wants the clutter gone as soon as possible.  He openly criticizes her and finds her clutter intolerable.
  • Clutter can make you feel ashamed.  My client never invites friends over to socialize.  There’s just no room to do so.
  • Clutter can cost you.  My client does little, if any, cooking.  Most meals are eaten out.

Why Does My Client Have Clutter?

I don’t know and I cannot guess.  What I do know is that something deep within is troubling her, something that requires a cover-up.  Kingston writes, “Usually it is loneliness, fear of intimacy or some other buried emotion which feels easier to submerge in clutter than to cope with.”

Whether we ignore all the stuff we acquire, neglect taking good care of it, or immerse ourselves in the maintenance or orderliness of our stuff, we are choosing not to deal with our own inner issues.  All this stuff becomes a shield, which blocks our way to facing our fears and living a balanced, healthy life.

Life in my client’s apartment had become intolerable.  She could no longer see the way out of her clutter.  It took courage to invite me to cross her threshold.  All that stuff she considers valuable was strangling her most precious possession–her inner self.  If she didn’t get help, she would succumb.

My working with her was an important first step.  If she continues, and that is a critical part of this de-cluttering work, she will transform her life.  I’ve witnessed life-changing transformation in clients who were committed to releasing their clutter.  They literally create space for new and wonderful changes to present themselves in their life.  Job promotions, improved health, revitalized marriages, and even an art exhibition that was years in the making are examples of those changes.

It is my clients’ personal transformation that keeps me doing this work.  If you need or someone you know who needs help creating a home for the heart, and if you live in the greater Washington, DC, area, consider taking my Consciously Clearing Clutter class.  The fall session is starting on October 8, 2014.  It can open doors you never thought would open for you.