Energetic Responsibility at Home – Spaciousness & Simplicity or Clutter & Complication?
Imagine you feel you know all there is to know about yourself, then something happens to remove the blinkers from your eyes and totally exposes how you’re truly living. This is my story.
I’ve known for a few years that I’ve wanted to do something to my flat, but I didn’t know where or how to start. I had lived in the same place for over 25 years: a lovely one bed in London in a neighbourhood I’ve come to love. On the surface there appeared to be order, but was there?
With most of my stuff hidden from view in cupboards and storage boxes, I convinced myself there was, as I wasn’t forced to look at or deal with it every day. I was not a hoarder. I did not have a problem. And yet the flat felt stagnant and full… something was not right. I believed all that was needed was a face-lift, re-decorating and additional cupboard space.
It is often said that when the pupil is ready, the master appears, and so it was for me. Guided to seek help, I sensed the person best suited to support me, but didn’t contact her for two years. When I did, it took another six months before we finally met.
In the meantime I started the process of clearing one cupboard in my bedroom containing photographs, letters, cards and mementoes spanning 60 years. It was an emotional journey as I re-visited different stages of my life and the various guises adopted along the way: girlfriend, partner, radical black activist, feminist, silk screen printer, carnival mass parade dancer, devoted martial arts student, yoga student, Hindu guru devotee, management consultant and tutor of many subjects. I went through everything and set aside items still relevant or loved for myself and family. Three black bin bags of discarded waste or re-cycling sat before me. Feeling virtuous, I emailed my teacher to be and confidently proclaimed the clearing almost complete and that I was ready to meet her.
When we met I found out how deluded I was!
My original call was for support with home design and re-configuration. My practitioner very gently and honestly shared her way of working, what felt true for her and would best support me. I felt intuitively to go with what was offered. Her approach took me back to the fundamentals: it was clear, unequivocal, direct and loving. Above all, she had the sensitivity to feel where I was stuck, a warmth and a way of phrasing questions that compelled me to feel more deeply. She steadily took me a through a process which supported me to feel the true impact of how I had been living. At this point I still had no idea what was coming, and how deep we would dive. At the end of the first session, the blinkers were off. I felt raw, exposed. My life had been changed forever.
The simple yet profound method was designed to bring awareness to the degree in which I lacked self love and because of this was not truly living my fullness, but had accumulated a mass of possessions as a substitute. I discovered the scale of the task, and the process became symbolic of my life and choices.
Did I choose truth, beauty and love, or neediness, recognition and disregard? I was presented with energetic responsibility in a very practical and real sense. As I felt the neediness behind many of my purchases, it became much easier to discard them. It was a revelation to feel how much of what I had accumulated was superfluous to need, not true and not serving. At the end of the very first session I felt drained, raw and vulnerable, yet inspired. For example, I discovered I only needed 10 of my 30 plus jumpers. And the ten I chose were those l loved. The rest were re-cycled. Once the clearing was complete, clothes and other items were placed in my wardrobe. It felt spacious, everything visible, loved, beautiful and ready for use. My heart expanded and felt light.
I learned that everything has its place and to return it to that place after use. This meant no longer spending time fishing for things but to know exactly what I had and where it was kept. Nothing remained under the bed, on the floor, above cupboards or behind doors.
This was the first of eight sessions: bathroom, hallway, living room, office, kitchen. One face to face meeting, seven via Skype. The process remained the same – to work in a way that allowed me to see the ‘big picture’ and feel the particular cycle and pattern I was in that had inhibited me from connecting more deeply with how I was living and feeling. The process was exposing, at times brutal, as I struggled to let go of things, resisted and clung to beliefs held for decades. All these items – clothing, bags, shoes, bedding, linen, fabric, jewellery, cosmetics, folders, files, laptops, computers, phones, crockery and more, most superfluous – had become a form of protection. Protection from how I truly felt about my life, regrets, disappointments and sadness. On the surface all was well and resolved, but I needed to physically discard the past and its related emotions before I could move on.
In the final stage I re-placed items after feeling the true value of each. This was very powerful. I got to feel the loveliness of items I chose to keep. This process, that seemed to be about my home, revealed to me the many times in my life I’d settled for less. I was inspired to break this pattern and begin to bring love into my home and life.
The biggest revelation was my lack of awareness of how I had been living. Without realising it I had chosen to see what I wanted to see – not the whole, not the true big picture of my life.
What was called for was a new perspective and willingness to discard all that was superfluous and untrue. Instead of bulging kitchen cupboards, I now have spacious cupboards and two empty ones. One wardrobe is no longer needed and will be dispensed with. Sixty years of photographs, the equivalent of five bin bags, reduced and lovingly held in a single, beautiful folder.
Spaciousness allows the new to be brought in and lovingly chosen.
Without realising it, I had:
- Become a consumer addict and accumulated things I didn’t use or need (3 dinner services, 3 vegetable peelers, 2 blenders, 2 sewing machines and more).
- Adopted a ‘just in case’ approach to life and bought extra just in case something got lost, broken, or there was a natural disaster or war!
- No sense of what I had because I had accumulated so much and couldn’t ‘see the wood for the trees.’
- Held on to items I didn’t like or use because someone dear to me had given it to me.
Self-expression at Home
Our home is a representation of our body. What does it say about me if I only express from the surface, not my deep true self? What does it say about me if I keep things hidden away behind closed doors? This process opened me up to a whole new way of being.
Our homes, like our bodies, are vessels of self-expression and should be regarded with utmost sacredness.
I have huge appreciation for myself for being prepared to dig deep, clear what needed to go and in doing so, expand my awareness and understanding.
Thanks and gratitude to Jenny Hayes. She guided me to clear my home with true purpose and understand that the process was for me and an expression of love. She inspired me to embody spaciousness, purpose, simplicity, order and love into my life.
This blog is inspired by and dedicated to Serge Benhayon.
By Kehinde James, London