This past weekend, I cleaned out a set of drawers that had gone way too long without seeing the light of day. They’re in a small piece of furniture that’s been relatively easy to move, while filled, from place to place for years now. It’s not like I never go through it. It’s just that there are parts of it that I take for granted as “that stuff” – packages of files, photos, and other remnants that I basically just leave be every time, and work around.
This time, I decided to unpack them.
Momentary pause for those of you who’ve taken a mindfulness workshop with me in the past and are right now thinking, “Ohhhh *ishhh, no she didn’t. She went into the back of the ‘junk drawer’.”
I have this analogy, you see. To me, every human’s psyche is sort of like the “junk drawer” we all have somewhere in our homes. The things in the front are familiar to you. You know what they are and how they got there. The farther back into the drawer you go, the more surprised you may be by what you find. Perhaps also delighted, dismayed, and a whole host of other experiences.
All the way in the back? Whoa. From a psychic perspective, that’s your ancestral trauma and things that aren’t even yours. Most people never make it back there in their work, and that’s ok. Just tackling the “drawer” at all reveals plenty to look at.
Most of us prefer to stay in what I call “the first 10%.” We’re willing to take a look at the recent stuff, and maybe move it around a little. Over time, we may be willing to sneak a little farther back. We don’t have to, though. We all deserve respect for looking at all, in my opinion.
So, in this actual living metaphor of a weekend I had, I pulled the whole thing out. I opened every envelope, unfolded every paper, and looked at every picture. I walked down memory lane, smiled occasionally, and cringed a lot. (Should anyone ever cut their own bangs? Firmly, I declare, NO.) I decided what was worth keeping, and carefully stored it. I decided what I no longer needed, and let it go. I never once asked myself about sparks of joy, but I sure did end up with something that made me feel similar.
Moving things around and out created space I never thought I’d see in those drawers. Knowing what had actually been in there all along enabled me to choose what to hold onto and what to release. It opened up the possibility of new things actually coming through. It also allowed me to see myself and my journey so far through new eyes.
I found notebooks and journals spanning the better part of the past two decades, scribbled full of ideas working so hard to take shape. Ideas, for example, about communities built around mindfulness and movement and dedicated to living with an open mind and heart. Imagine that.
In other words, going to the back of drawer showed me that even the moments when we feel unsure or adrift, we are never lost. If we are listening to ourselves and following our intuition, we are always on course, although we may not know towards what destination.
Perhaps where the present moment is taking you isn’t what matters, though. Maybe it’s more about trusting that there is a part of you that knows the way, and that no matter what, will get you to where you need to be.
If it’s a bangs trim, though, let that place be with a professional stylist. You’ll thank yourself, later.
Photo credit: Jessica Lewis