Have you ever met someone and known from the start that an angel had been sent to grace your life?
That’s how I felt in October of 2012. Frank had gone off to Japan for a fifteen-day adventure, leaving me with an unusual stretch of solitude. In a stroke of serendipity just weeks before, I’d reached out to Peggy Fitzsimmons, having heard remarkable stories of her de-cluttering magic. She happened to be free in October, and we booked five full days of work together.
While I did not consider myself an extreme hoarder, I admitted to being a saver, clinging to things of sentimental value and leaning toward excess. Love-filled greeting cards and mementos covered available surfaces, and I always decorated the house for holidays, from Valentine’s Day to Christmas. I think it’s fun to have fifteen different sets of dishes, four of them holiday patterns, and a range of tablecloths, napkins, runners and placemats to play dress-up with my dining table. But I also knew the sheer volume of stuff was bogging me down. I could think of no greater gift to myself than to tackle the clutter while Frank was away.
Peggy floated through the door on Day One, a breath of fresh air. Her sylph-like energy is implicitly non-intrusive, yet carries a soulful gravitas that brings clarity simply by her presence. We made tea and sat in the living room for a conversation before getting to work. In under half an hour, we’d gotten to the essence of our mission, established a theme and a set of criteria for the many decisions ahead. As a Ph.D. and trained therapist, she deftly holds the psychological level of the endeavor, while remaining solidly practical.
Facing parts of myself in every room, I encountered memories and regrets, hopes and dreams.
Our work together entered a fascinating dimension of time, both flying by and slowing to a crawl as I traveled into the past and the future. Facing parts of myself in every room, I encountered memories and regrets, hopes and dreams. Tears flowed. Revelations emerged. We filled bags with items to release to people who could use and cherish them. The act of lightening up soon became thrilling. Five days turned into fifteen, starting at nine am and sometimes going late into the night. No closet, drawer, tabletop or pantry shelf was left untouched.
Walking through the house the night before Frank’s return, I was elated. Our home sparkled with beauty and presence. More importantly, I felt whole, current with myself in present time and free in a way I’d never known before. Frank was thrilled with the changes, and though we didn’t fully understand it, a doorway opened to a new chapter for each of us.
Why do we hold on when it feels so fabulous to let go?
What are we actually clinging to?
This life-changing experience sparked a fascination with the phenomenon of “clutter” and all it represents. Why do we hold on when it feels so fabulous to let go? What are we actually clinging to? It also left me wondering how to sustain the magical mindset that made it so easy to release what no longer served me. In Peggy’s presence, it seemed as natural as breathing. How could I carry that Essence of Peggy magic with me? I wanted to bottle it and share it with everyone I loved.
What I’ve come to understand in the nine years since our first meeting is that the action of letting go becomes natural when you step into the sacred space of your soul’s truth. It’s a simultaneously joyous and peaceful resonance of wholeness, something we can easily forget in the stresses of daily life. We all need reminders to connect with what is most real.
As the process unfolds, we begin to distinguish with stunning clarity which of our things, thoughts, energies, habits and behaviors feed the soul and set us free, and which of those keep us trapped in an outdated sense of self.
Which is why I was thrilled when Peggy decided to capture her magic in the form of a book.
In her remarkable offering, Release: Create a Clutter Free and Soul Driven Life, Peggy Fitzsimmons helps us face the ways we cling to the past. With gentle, persistent support she helps us consider all dimensions of life, not just our possessions, through the lens of clutter. As the process unfolds, we begin to distinguish with stunning clarity which of our things, thoughts, energies, habits and behaviors feed the soul and set us free, and which of those keep us trapped in an outdated sense of self.
This is not an everyday de-cluttering book, simply offering tips to pare down your possessions. It is a shift in worldview, an invitation to look honestly, with compassion and kindness, at every part of your life, to embrace that which is soul satisfying, and release everything else. In many ways it is a guidebook for crossing into a new paradigm of radical self-love.
As creatures of habit who often cling long past the usefulness of a thought or a thing, learning how to let go is an essential skill that makes the difference between thriving and suffering in a time of unprecedented change.
It couldn’t be more timely or urgent. As creatures of habit who often cling long past the usefulness of a thought or a thing, learning how to let go is an essential skill that makes the difference between thriving and suffering in a time of unprecedented change.
I’ve frequently spoken about the shift humanity must make into a new paradigm of loving cooperation. In an increasingly chaotic time, it’s easy to get discouraged, looking for that change in the world around us. But the truth is it’s an inside job. I believe the world is counting on each of us to let go of old identities, forgiving who we have been, and courageously embracing a new way of being. If you let her, Peggy can help you let go of what no longer serves you, bit by bit, as you forge a deeper alliance with your Soul Self and birth a new paradigm within.
True to her minimalist ways, Release is a small book, a slim 116 pages. But it’s also a huge book in its ability to boil down essential truths, guiding us to freer, more authentic versions of ourselves. With pragmatic tips, mindfulness practices and her eight brilliant questions to ask when deciding what to keep, this book can become a lifelong companion.
Who knows what gifts lie waiting in the space of greater freedom?
Letting go is the work of our current age. And though it’s loaded with uncertainty, I’m eager to embrace the next level of surrender. Who knows what gifts lie waiting in the space of greater freedom?
Are you willing to join me? Order a copy of Release. (I like to have it on Kindle so I can highlight passages and always have it with me on my phone.) Savor its pages slowly, allowing it to set profound change in motion. Together we can embrace the Great Work of our time, discovering untapped reservoirs of joy and love along the way.
And just for fun, see if you can tell which of the stories in the book is about me. Names have been changed but you just might figure it out!