25 November 2006
You know what it's like when you clean out your closet(s)... You sit on the floor sifting through the muddle, finding things that you forgot you had. Maybe there is a box of photos that you go through. You start looking at them, one by one, laughing and crying for all the memories. There is the box of costumes that your auntie made and sent, when you were ten, from the old country. (You think they are costumes because you don't really believe that she intended a ten year old to wear red crochet hip hugger bell bottoms with a matching belly baring top to school.) You find the stuffed away gift from a well intentioned family member that gave it to you and said "I got it for you because purple is your color." You come across things you don't need, would like to forget and some things that are precious and you can never let go of. It always takes a lot longer than the afternoon you set aside and often you have to come back to the mess you created and deal with it, get it organized and most often it never, really gets completely done, there is always that little pile of stuff that you just don't know what to do with. Never the less, once you've completed the task (more or less), you feel refreshed and ready for new things or you just enjoy the freed up space.
I have been cleaning my closets, it seems, for the past five years now. Not the closets in my house (that is a whole other story!) but the closets in my heart. It is amazing how many closets a heart can have! Since the cleaning has been going on and I get rid of those things I no longer need and keep the things that are precious I am finding there is so much more space for other things. Like new friendships and cherishing the old ones in a deeper more meaningful way. Then there is all that extra room for learning new things. How about all the dreams that can finally be realised that were once crowded between all those outfits I never wore but thought I might. My closets were so full I didn't know which outfit to wear. Now it is clear to me what I should wear. I've kept a few tried and true things from the past because it so important to embrace our history, even if it is a pair of jeans you no longer fit into. It hasn't always been easy and I often grapple with letting go of things and sometimes in the rush to get rid of things I have thrown things out unintentionally. No matter what I've kept or let go of I have learned that the heart has an amazing capacity to adapt. I sometimes long for that old dress I once wore, but I really don't want to wear it again, I just want to remember what I felt like when I was wearing it. Then I go back to my clean closet, open the door, look in, admire how lovely it looks, then pull a new dress off the hanger and put it on.