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Go Clean Out A Drawer!

It’s early in the morning. The house is quiet because everyone else is still sleeping. You can smell the coffee brewing and head to the kitchen in anticipation of that first cup of the day. You open the fridge and inadvertently knock over an unsealed carton of milk. While mumbling nasty words beneath your breath, you hastily reach for the paper towels and start mopping frantically, trying to out run the drips. But, before you know it, milk is dribbling down the walls, bouncing off and through the lower shelves and raining into the fruit and vegetable drawers; what began as a simple clean-up has become a major project.

Emotional spillage is similar. One emotional event can trigger an unwelcome return to dark, stained passages that you’ve chosen to ignore over time. It’s like unblocking a drain. You can’t just remove the last item that found traction in the U-bend, you have to haul up all sorts of nasty, clingy sludgy stuff that’s attached itself to it.

During the glum periods of my childhood and adolescence, my mother would always tell me to ‘go and clean out a drawer’. Of course I didn’t. It seemed like a ridiculous solution. However, perhaps unbeknownst to my mother whose immediate goal was simply to get her moody child out from underfoot, she made a good point. There’s no doubt that keeping one’s house in order—be it your physical, emotional, or spiritual house—enhances clarity of purpose, peace of mind and allows creativity and grace to flow more freely.

I’ve recently experienced several weeks of untidy emotional incontinence where one single event managed to turn my life inside out exposing all sorts of unsorted, unwanted and untreated sludge. At the same time, I was frustrated by the ‘stuff’ in my physical space. My workspace, in particular, had been neglected for most of the summer and used as a sort of dumping ground. Boxes and bags of unwanted and unsorted clobber formed a wall around my sewing table blocking not only my physical mobility but also my creative fluidity. Something had to be done! And so I got to work and, as I sorted and tossed and organized, I found myself doing similar work within myself. I began in one room and soon found myself moving on to continue the purge in other rooms while stepping cautiously into the dark and neglected spaces of my inner being at the same time.

Cleaning is tedious and repetitive but there is a rhythm to it—almost like a mantra—and, if you can tap into that rhythm, it opens up your emotional core allowing it to work safely and productively alongside.

By clearing a path in the basement, I cleared a path in my heart. By dumping six large garbage bags on the kerb one morning, I discarded an equivalent heap of emotional trash. By giving away things I no longer needed in my house, I set free a handful of past experiences and redundant memories that no longer served a purpose in my inner house. I’m not finished yet but, already, my house feels airier and my spirit lighter.

So, go ahead, have a good cry over spilled milk, you never know where it might lead you!

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