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Joan's Story

The Swamp

As soon as I hit 70 and during the following few years, I began to feel a change in my body, that the physical tasks I used to find easy could tax it and I finally realised I had to respect my age and my body and make a change in the way I lived my daily life and the clutter and disorganisation had to go. After all, death could happen and even if it didn’t happen now I could feel the end of life approaching – not in a morbid way but making appreciation to live a simpler life more important. And to enjoy where and how I was living in each day. There was also the thought of those who would have to clear out my stuff, how beautiful it would be if there was not much left to do!

Though I had already started to clear stuff before Jenny arrived there was still so much mess behind the doors – an accumulation of possessions, (more than was needed) and no extra space anywhere. This state of affairs had arisen because of the stuck old patterns which had evolved, and because I had not been able to pause and feel what was needed, not considering the space available or how belongings should be placed in it.

Some of these habits were holding onto items from the past, as well as family items, belief systems, and objects I’d used to prop myself up, coping mechanisms to keep me fairly organised, comfortable and safe. My partner and I muddled along together in a kind of easy but unconscious awareness of how we organised our things together. But the biggest area of disorganisation and neglect was the muddle with papers, files and money.

I felt swamped by all of this and in fact by the whole heaviness inside the house. It was like a swamp, very turgid and difficult to extricate myself on my own.

The First Step

I knew something had to happen and I could feel the change coming. I began to do some clearing out by myself, but I really had no idea about the way to do it or the depth of work required and the commitment needed to make true change. All I knew was I had to take this impulse further, to take the opportunity for growth and change and invest time and money on the project of clearing out and re-organising.

I found Jenny through reading a blog about her work and knew she was the person for me. You know how when you have felt a true impulse to take you forward then everything falls into place. So we arranged a series of sessions beginning with a wardrobe session.

The Wardrobe – I discover I can be a WOMAN

This was a lot of fun although it was at very, very deep level.

We have ideals about how we dress, we wear clothes out of habit, and we cover ourselves up so we cannot be seen – these clothes are worn next to our skin, so what does this mean if it’s not really ourselves we are dressing?

To be asked if a dress I put on made me feel sexy and did I love it, brought up a whole realisation about how I dressed down and didn’t allow myself to shine or feel my true femininity at all. In Jenny’s quiet non judgmental presence I was able to start letting go of all those hang ups so many women carry about their bodies and their sexiness. I began to feel more confident and choose to wear what I really felt good in. I began to celebrate me, my true womanly self!

I was giving myself permission to wear what I liked without caring what others think, and throwing away those items that were from the me of the past. I surprised myself with what I chose. It was so easy to dress in the mornings, and pack when I went away, for with fourteen bags going to the charity shop there was room in the wardrobe and the drawers to organise things so spaciously. In fact I got rid of a chest of drawers.

The effect on me was astounding and stunning, I was fulfilling a part of me that had been hidden all my life. The whole bedroom now felt clear and light, and so did I, and going to bed in the evening was deliciously nurturing.

I hadn’t felt any further than my clothes but having done the bedroom I could feel what needed to take place in the rest of the house but little did I know the challenges that would face me everywhere else.

The Study – A kind of miracle

Here in my study, cum healing room, cum playroom, cum office were many little things I kept “in case I needed them”. There were duplicates of many bits of equipment, and the many files of financial and other papers that had built up over the years.

Here, in some miraculous way, by doing the process of clearing I came to understand myself in a new way. It suddenly burst upon me that I had things around me that were there because of ideals and beliefs about what I should possess or put up on the walls. “Do you love it? Does it give you Joy?” Jenny would ask, and down the pictures would come, and out would go many of the things that were no longer important to me, for this was a new me emerging, one with confidence and the ability to discern for myself, no longer following a trend.

Sorting through the financial, house and work papers was the biggest miracle of all. I had about ten huge files crammed full with disorganised papers taking up a whole cupboard, Now I have slim plastic folders, beautifully colour coded. Each has a heading page with all the necessary details contained in each file so it is easy to find anything I want now.

And to top it all eventually we changed my room to the one I had always loved but had given over to a guest room. Now I play, work, exercise and give and receive healing sessions in a room with light and space.

Space and light, stillness and a quiet joy is the gift of this room.

My Partner — an evolving relationship

How the house looks and where things are kept have never much mattered to Noel and how I altered my own rooms did not affect him, but there are a few things that are dear to him, and when I moved the photo he loves to gaze at every morning when he awakes I could feel his reaction and how it hurt him to be disrespected in this way.

I realised I had taken all this on in the old pattern between us, without consulting him or talking about how it would be. Now I could ignore this no longer and had to address the fact that I had always taken control, and now there needed to be respect and negotiation.

Because of this clearing process our relationship became more open and honest and we had a deeper understanding of each other.