lessons learned: cleaning out the closet

Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes, it’s letting go.  ~Sylvia Robinson

Last night, I was reading a meditation on the freedom of letting go.  Barbara Johnson shares this analogy: “Letting go is like cleaning out your closet.  You may not want to do it.  You may want to hold on to all those things in case you want to wear them again one day—remember, the favorite pink shoes from 1996 or the hat you took to the beach (before your child was born).  That clutter impairs us from seeing what is available.  As you clean out your closet, you find that great black tee shirt that fits just right or the missing camisole you need to go with your blue sweater.”closet

Barbara Johnson then makes this statement:  “It is not easy to turn loose of hold habits or resentment, but when I do, I am rewarded with a great sense of freedom, as though my spiritual ‘closet’ has been decluttered.”

I will admit that I am a pack rat both literally and figuratively speaking.  Having been a preschool teacher on a shoe string budget, I learned to salvage or recycle any item that could become a paint tray, makeshift book shelf, homemade toy, or a playground item.  That “illness” spread into my own home where a guest bedroom spent a year as a “holding place” for possible craft activities, woodworking projects, house paint supplies, etc.  It took me a good week to get that place organized and thrown out, but when I did, I was able to create a wonderful art studio for my daughter and me.

In terms of my spiritual “closet” I know I have a tendency to wear the same things over again—I will continue to analyze a problem that is no longer relevant or worry about an issue over which I have no control.  My thoughts become cluttered by things of the past rather than focusing on the present or future.  It’s amazing though—when I take the time to clean out the old issues and concentrate on new solutions, like organizing and prioritizing, I feel so much better.

Permitting ourselves to let go of the anxiety, negativity, or pain not only supports our spiritual development but also our mental and physical health.  It also gives us the opportunity to grow as human beings—learning new things about ourselves, for example, that we are resilient, that we do have some choices we can make, and that we grow stronger with each new transition in our lives.

2 thoughts on “lessons learned: cleaning out the closet

  1. I so needed this – figuratively and literally. And I had that guest room too. Kind of hard to have guests when you have to move all that stuff for them to sleep, eh? Wish I knew you well enough to ask you to come cheer me on as I clear out my literal closet – can’t seem to find the will to do it myself. Working on it though. Thanks for the thoughts.

    1. Well, I hate to admit it, but that same room has re-accumulated stuff since I wrote that post last year. My goal is to do it this weekend when it’s cold and rainy so I am there with you in spirit.

      Was thinking the same thing–if I had a homesteader sister who wouldn’t be overwhelmed by it all, I’d invite her over and repay her in homesteading goods.

      By the way–where do you live? ; )

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