From time to time it's not uncommon for even a person with the most positive attitude to life to run out of wind. Here's an account of what Suzanne did when she found herself stuck in the doldrums.
Suzanne is a creative - a storyteller, poet, dancer and author who loves to inspire and educate using the visual arts. It's been her passion since childhood but when we began working together, Suzanne felt stuck in her career and only sporadically pursuing those things that make her heart sing. While fortunate to be supported by a partner who gave her free range to be herself, it was also the case that after 28 years together their relationship was in the doldrums too.
Behind closed doors
The overarching impression I formed of Suzanne's first vision board was the need for movement. Evidence for this was in the repeating butterfly motifs (associated with the element air: thoughts) and sea creatures (associated with the element water: emotions and the imagination). These motifs had already begun to work their way into her writing.
As we sat in her working environment at home, which doubled up as the lounge, the energy felt flat. Behind closed cupboard doors and more evidently on book shelves, some serious de-cluttering was needed to bring movement into her life. Making space would also generate a vacuum into which new ideas and opportunities could flow and take shape.
Eat that frog!
I encouraged Suzanne to start each day by ‘eating the frog’: half an hour’s de-cluttering to get it out of the way and to lift her spirits. We began right away with some paperwork and I left her with a prioritised task list to add momentum. Last count after the blitz, 17 kilos had been taken for professional shredding.
Books and paper sit heavily in our space, weighty consumers of life-force energy; think about all the trees that contributed to their production, all the intellectual thought that has gone into the content. In libraries we take comfort from this feeling of substance while in the home or office too much of this can be a barrier to progress.
Shedding her skin
Clothes were her next target. To help Suzanne select what to keep I invited her to imagine she was shedding an old skin and only wanted to retain clothes and personal effects which truly expressed who she was becoming. A large bin liner filled easily.
Three years passed and Suzanne returned to make a new vision board, ready to explore the “what next?” question through the making of it. In the interim, impressive creative progress had flowed into the vacuum she'd created. A series of poetry performances had been delivered, two books published, and she'd begun working with children with learning difficulties. However, she was now feeling a bit isolated working alone. She craved company and interaction and was contemplating a part-time job to combat this.
Daring and courageous
It’s important to acknowledge Suzanne's proactive part in this progress. Courageously, she had risen to the opportunities as they presented themselves and not talked herself out of them.
Now, reviewing the images on her current vision board together in the context of her unfolding story, an exciting direction began to emerge. It was time to convert all her efforts of recent years into an arts-based learning programme that could be taught in Colleges and Universities. Not only would this satisfy her need for contact, she’d also be rubbing shoulders with her intellectual peers which she'd find stimulating.
Before we parted, Suzanne had identified another de-cluttering blitz was required in order to clear space for her new project. There were also several signs on her vision board that a house move was calling but she was more in favour of making changes to the existing home instead. From a Feng Shui perspective, I intuitively felt this was not the best solution since the existing home would struggle to adapt sufficiently to her evolving vision. I also felt a change of home would serve her partner too and ultimately their relationship.
Time will tell.