Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a webinar featuring the wisdom and de-cluttering prowess of the wonderful Kerri Richardson. A fellow empath, she works with people to find the reason that their closets are jammed and their junk drawers overflowing. I signed up thinking that she would have tons of pointers on how to help my own clients, but as it turns out, Kerri’s message was of a personal note, sent just for me.
I’ve always prided myself in being a bit of a minimalist, and can clear a room with a ruthlessness that would scare off even the stoutest of souls. In my life, I’ve filled dumpsters and donated, shunned Craig’s List, Ebay and auctions. And crowed about it with smugness. But in the deep recesses of my soul, I have harbored a dark secret. My life was filled to the brim with clutter. It wasn’t my closets or my desk drawer that needed attention. For me, it was emotional clutter. My home and my head-space had become a shrine to the guilt that I felt from not being able to save my Mom’s home when she died. Of a complicated relationship and a feeling of letting her down. I imagined her judging eye cast upon me, as the oldest child, a not so loving symbol that I had not held up my end of the bargain. She was a deeply home-loving creature, a fellow lover of learning and a rescuer of books. Her house was the repository of family history. The home of my beloved grandfather’s handmade furniture,and lovely treasures from a trip to Scotland. It’s where she let her creative soul come out to play, and her handiwork hung on every surface. Her gift for design lived comfortably among the jumble of treasures that she had collected. And I couldn’t save it…not any of it.
After her death, I returned home from Philadelphia with as much of her stuff as a suitcase could hold, along with her ashes, which would sit on a shelf in my armoire, as a daily reminder of what I saw as my failure. Her jewelry hung in my bathroom and mocked me, her books haunted my dreams. I was tired, and heart sore and in need of a way to lighten my load.
I clicked on the Xoom link to join Kerri’s webinar on a cold Minnesota Thursday. I was working at a client’s house, and as he wasn’t going to be home for the day, I saw it as my opportunity to hone my craft while I worked. As I saw Kerri’s image fill the screen of my iPhone and listened to her opening words, I knew that on this day, my soul had other plans. As she spoke of the real reasons we clutter, and the toll it takes on our lives, I felt my heart speed up and a lump forming in my throat. I muted my audio and video and furiously scrubbed the kitchen at Peter’s house to within an inch of its life, as tears poured down my face. This lovely stranger was speaking directly to me. A sense of relief washed over me, and for the first time in years, I laid down my guilt and my grief and returned home that evening with the tools and the resolve that I needed to empty my life. I even decided to scatter Mom’s ashes.
Early the next morning, my partner and I loaded our car with our five black boxes. My mother, both of his parents and two of our beloved roosters. We made the drive to a distant park, and by the roar of the Mighty Mississippi, we said a final goodbye to our dearests. In what could have seemed a macabre scene, we instead felt light. It felt right and good and what our family would want for us.
In the ensuing days, my new found emotional space has given me the energy to get back to long shelved creative projects and to finish a kitchen remodel that had been languishing for over three years. It’s as if someone blew open all the doors and windows and filled my life with fresh air and sunshine. I can breathe and I can finally sleep, unfettered by dreams of books, and failures, of letdowns and not so perfect lives. All is right and well.
If you want to know the miracle that is Kerri Richardson, please check her out on Facebook, give a listen on Hay House Radio or read her amazing book What Your Clutter Is Trying To Tell You. You won’t regret it. I promise.