More Boxes

More Boxes

For years my passion was easy to explain and clearly defined. I was on a corporate track motivating and inspiring people to a greater existence of sorts. It was always easy to fill out the section of any questionnaire that asked “what is your passion?” No matter what the flavor of the company’s quarter was, for me it was always people.

So, when I took the leap and made a career change, it took me a hot minute to find the same level of passion once again. Is it still people? Is it organizing? I mean, I went from a team of 50 to organizing closets. Lets’s keep it real, it was a bit of a crawl compared to my previous heart racing hustle. I kept wondering, would anything I do in a closet really make a difference? Could I really motivate and inspire people? On any level?

For a few weeks I wondered if I was even close to the right path. But somewhere between deliberating about a number of hens (not kidding) and looking for a place to store pens, I found zen. And I get it. Well, I got it anyway. My passion, my proverbial “reason for this season”. I got that “click” that information seekers like myself live for. And here it is:

When an estate is in order, life quickly follows.

                                                                                   Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.

I have never been able to sit down at a cluttered desk and work to my best, most productive potential. I mean, I can work – don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a mental block about a pile of old magazines and coffee cake crumbs on my keyboard. I’d just rather not. You’re more likely to find me cleaning the space first, then sitting down and quickly taking care of business. There is something to be said though for starting a project in an organized space. It’s not just nice to look at, it truly is peace.

When all of my tangible possessions are in place, I am so much more free then to organize the intangible parts of my life that DO, in fact leave clutter and cause chaos.  

Have you ever needed to make a decision about something but just can’t? Maybe it’s a family trip or a work related issue or even dinner. Do you ever find yourself making seemingly rushed (and possibly poor) decisions when you really needn’t be rushed? I have truly come to believe that some of that can come from the clutter we have lying around our lives. Whether it be inside your home or inside your head, I believe if left unchecked it can become debilitating.

When the outward environment is in check we are forced to look inward.

On the other hand, unmasking our clutter and freeing up our minds to conquer our lives can be somewhat daunting, I’m sure. Consider the extreme case of the woman who won’t part with her 1,562 empty jars of peanut butter. When she finally has nothing but a clean, streamlined space to sit in, what then? What to think of? What to do? When the outward environment is in check we are forced to look inward. And, I am guessing that whatever makes us hold onto 1,562 empty peanut butter jars is a pretty big something. Quite possibly something we’d rather not deal with at all.

But, what’s the alternative? Every professional organizers least favorite words of course,  “more boxes” !!

After all, it’s much easier to buy a box and then proceed to buy the contents of that box over and over again when you need and can’t find them. More costly? Absolutely. But, without a doubt, easier.

And so it is with our mind too, isn’t it? If we grab a new and shiny box and put all of that mental clutter (for me it has been things like grief, unforgiveness, jealousy, self pity) in the new box, well then of course we wouldn’t have to deal with it. We could put a top on it and store it neatly away, keeping up the appearance of a tidy free zone. But, nothing is ever that simple.

Nothing is ever “just a box”. 

When we choose to put that stuff, all gnarled up and rancid, in a box to rot we inevitably lose out on the lessons to be learned from dealing with the contents of that box. And so without the lessons and the growth (however painful) we would have gained, we just… well, do it again. And again, and again and again and again. But here’s the thing… and these are my questions:

There’s still a rotting pile of junk we need to sift through holding up a mountain of more and it wasn’t built to be a foundation, right? Do we eventually notice the pile teetering? Will that first big box of issues someday just collapse under the pressures of failing repetition? Will our failure to act, in fact be the death of us?

I keep thinking back to an extreme case of hoarders in which a husband and wife were found quite literally buried alive in their own home due to the things they piled around them for so many years. They were well into their 70’s and had spent too many years walking over, around and one fateful day, under too many boxes they didn’t have the strength to sort through.

Learning is uncomfortable. 

I would imagine that when faced with the real, deep down issues of that piece of paper we just can’t part with and the toppling tower of terror it will surely become if we don’t, we might get a little uncomfortable. But, an old friend once told me that “learning is uncomfortable” and if that’s the case I’m right on track, because my closet seems a little cramped right now and I should probably absolutely apologize to my husband for not noticing that he cleaned the kitchen earlier this afternoon.

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