I cleaned out our laundry room this afternoon. It had become cluttered to the point of annoyance with piles of overflow, and shoes, and too many coats. Interior spaces seem to accumulate stuff so readily, and become chaotic and disorganized. In such a state they trap energy and create a sense of impending overwhelm. I think our minds can become cluttered the same way, and our lives.
The process of looking is first. What's here? Are there things that can be put elsewhere? Thrown away? I see patterns in the disorder. I see groupings of stuff, and get ideas about how to begin. I start to pick things up, to sort piles: items to go upstairs, to go to the car, the kitchen, a bucket of extension cords for the utility closet. I have a trash can available and am always surprised how much I am holding onto that can be easily discarded.
Halfway through the project, things seem worse than when I began. There is apparent chaos and destruction. This is the point where it's easy to stop and get frustrated. It's the point where I step in to help my kids with their closets because they are close to tears- that it will never come together again, that they've messed things up irrevocably. It's the turning point: time to clean and sweep and put things back with care, time to take out the trash.
I heard somewhere that when we are feeling stuck, or bored, or restless, we can clean up our rooms. Whenever I do, it helps me shift my perspective and restore me to clarity. In the clean space I am given breathing room and hope. I feel good, and grateful. Perhaps my thoughts and worries, my fears and physical tension, like the laundry room, can be opened up and rearranged.