“Clean the closet” is likely among the very last things to do on a long-term carer’s list of to-dos when home care and or visits to doctors, the hospital, or the assisted living is higher on the list of priorities. When long-term caring for loved ones extends for years and years, it is not uncommon for closets to become woefully neglected or jam-packed of “just stick it in the closet” emergency clean-ups. This was true for me.
I am now past midway in my 30-day “long winter nap” at-home retreat. More rest, yoga, meditation, prayer, chanting, good-for-me foods, nature walks, snow-play, and puppy-play have been good medicine, but the real suprise has been tuning into the organization of my personal spaces, including my closet. The wisdom of the desert spirituality tradition tells us that when we commit ourselves to a contemplative desert practice we will meet opportunity to uncover and transform that which is hidden in us. In working with that which has been hidden in my closet (holiday gift bags undecided, books unread and clothing unworn since our 2009 move, a single sock collection intermixed with well-matched socks, personal journals partially filled, bedding belonging to beds we no longer sleep on… ), I have started to befriend and re-purpose these items that tell the story of personal traumas previously “put to rest.”
Previously, I was unable to face this stuff from the chapter of my life that had me uprooted, displaced, and critically caregiving for months and months, years and years. The compounding effects of old stuff continually buried whilst new crises emerge can create a long-term constipation effect, which we all know can be very uncomfortable and sometimes lead to other emotional or physical dis-ease.
I’m grateful to now have the personal freedom and emotional ability to focus on, befriend, and transform the areas of my life that have been frozen in time. Each day I work in the closet, the space becomes cleaned-out and renewed for the benefit of my life in the now.
Moving forward with a listening heart,