Letting Go for Greater Intimacy

This is from an article in the March issue of Natural Health magazine, written by Hillari Dowdle:

BY MOST MEASURES, Andrea Gaines, 42, had it all going on: good looks, a successful career, a happy family and a healthy lifestyle. Yet, something was nagging at her, disturbing her rest and preventing her from enjoying her downtime: clutter.

"I'm pretty neat, so it didn't really look like a huge problem," says the life and wellness coach from Evanston, Ill. "But little piles were collecting in the corners. There was too much junk in the basement, too many bills and papers piling up all around me. The bookcases were overflowing. I'd walk in my door and start to feel vaguely anxious."

Then she happened to come across a flier for "clutter buster" Brooks Palmer and booked an appointment, hoping that Palmer would work some magic and get her organized.

As the two of them worked their way through Gaines' house room by room, she began to realize just how much her clutter was weighing her down. And when they reached the master bedroom, Gaines had a breakthrough. "I had a huge collection of marriage self-help books in there, and Brooks was encouraging me to let them go," she recalls. "I didn't want to, but then he asked me: 'Do you really want these books? Or do you want what the books represent?'"

Gaines realized that, sure enough, what she was really after--and what the books were standing in for--was a deeper connection and more intimacy with her husband, George. When she ditched the books, she found more room to work on her relationship. "There's an emotional weight to all that stuff you keep around," she says. "When you start to let it go, you lighten up. You start to feel free. And our love life picked up."