How Long Will it Take?
Editor's note: Lisa Giesler, one of our Social Graces Social Club Houston members, writes about and works in professional organizing from a unique perspective - that cluttered lives stem from emotional trauma and unhealed wounds. This is an excerpt from one of her books, Uncluttered: Discovering Strength & Purpose in the Chaos of Life. Clarifying remarks are in italic.
One of the biggest questions that I get asked during the initial home organizer appointment is “ How long will it take to organize _____?” I can usually give an estimate of time. There are a lot of variables consider such as: the volume of stuff, how long it takes you to make a decision, distractions, or doing your homework etc.
The same questions come up in life. It’s a nagging thought or a memory that you wonder, ‘How long will it take for the memory to go away?’ After my dad revealed the truth of my mom to me, it was difficult. I didn’t think I could survive. I texted Rebecca and told her I needed her. Rebecca had been the unexpected new friend in my life; she was there to listen and comfort me in times of need. Once again, she rescheduled her appointments to help me through my crisis. Rebecca and I always met at a certain coffee spot to chat. Kinda like our time to talk about family, business, and just basically decompress. We always picked a quiet spot. This one particular day, we sat outside, the weather was still warm, but the wind was blowing as I poured my heart out; I said, “I feel broken and don’t see how I can keep helping others.” She reached across the table, grabbed my hand, and said “Lisa, you are a minister to others. Remember how you helped me?”
I had a total knee replacement surgery. I knew with my head that recovery would be tough and a lot of pain, but I don’t think it’s something you can really prepare yourself for until you experience it. While I was in my bed recovering, I had an “aha” moment. My old knee needed to be removed and a new one put in, but healing doesn’t happen by simply removing what is bad and putting in something new. There is the pain to push through. All the muscle and tendons must be put back together and then given time to adequately heal. And I couldn’t just sit around dwelling on the pain either. I had to get up and be an active part of my own healing. I needed therapy and a great support system for my knee to heal.
The same was true of my emotional wounds stemming from being unable to process the abuse, but also being unable to forgive my parents, not only for the abuse, but for not protecting me. It wasn’t enough that I was aware of the problem. I had to acknowledge and deal with all those old memories, and then allow the healing to take place as I pushed through the pain. To sweep it under the rug was not going to make it go away.