Lucy Lemay Cellucci

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The Lady Who Cleaned Out Her Closet

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Once there was a lady who had a messy closet. The time had come, she’d decided, to finally get her hands dirty, and sort out all of the clutter. So she hauled out all the items that had been accumulating over the years. She reached far back onto those buckling shelves and rummaged deep into those dark corners, until all the items that prevented her from using her closet in a functional manner spilled onto the floor and gathered around her feet like a courtyard of loyal subjects.

As she sifted through the wreckage of her life’s tangible items, she saw the threads of a beautiful story scattered around her bedroom floor.

All around her lay evidence of dreams she once held,  dreams she’d realized, and dreams she had still to fulfill.

Everywhere she turned, she saw that her life was full of love.  She sure was a lucky lady. There were many, many things that reminded her of some of the happiest moments of her life. The lady with the messy closet loved looking at these things because they made her feel that she had made some good choices in life and that she was exactly where she should be.

 

She also came across some other items that she hadn’t seen in a very long time. These things made the lady feel uncomfortable because they brought up memories from a time when she felt sad and broken and was quite certain that anywhere else would have better than where she was.sorrow

Then the lady surveyed everything else that was piled around her. She realized that she was hanging on to an incredible amount of things that she no longer needed. She’d tried, several times in fact, in previous years to discard these items, but for some reason she always felt the need to hang on to them. Perhaps she was afraid that if she didn’t have them, she would suddenly need them around, and the idea of being uncomfortable in that way was too much to bear.

So the lady with the messy closet did what all people with messy closets do: she kept hanging on to the things she didn’t need. Despite the fact that these things made it difficult for her to use her closet functionally, she refused to part with them. She clung desperately to them, as one would to a life raft when adrift at sea. At times, she would become incredibly frustrated with the state of her closet. Her clothes were often wrinkled, matching shoes were scarcely available, and the door would not always close. This posed a grave problem for the lady, as a door that constantly remains open has the unfortunate consequence of letting in the wrong things — like sticky, peanut butter-fingered children, visiting mother-in-laws, and felines with a penchant for pooping in inappropriate places.

But oddly enough, no matter how much stress the lady experienced as a result of these things, she would not part with them. It was as if she did not think she could get by without them. And then, one day, the unthinkable happened…the lady with the messy closet took each and every single item that she owned, considered its existence, and then packed it up to be kept, given away or discarded. As a result, a marvelous thing occurred. She freed herself from years of carrying around unwanted baggage that was weighing her down and making it difficult for her live functionally. Her clothes fit properly on the hangers, shoes were paired (as in matching pairs!), and, best of all, the door would close! The lady could not believe how wonderful it felt to have a tidy, organized closet.

She felt light and unencumbered.

She felt mature and organized.organized closet

She felt happy and at peace.

She wondered why it had taken her so long to clean out her closet. Then she realized that cleaning out a physical closet is much easier after one has cleaned out one’s emotional closet — you know, that invisible place you keep hidden from everyone where you stuff in all the things you’ve experienced? Every now and then, it’s advisable to take inventory and clear out the excess baggage. We all hang on to things we no longer need. We re-digest past regrets, harbor grudges against previous romantic partners, and torment ourselves with guilt over our past mistakes. This results in an overstuffed closet that bursts at its hinges with things like sadness, anger, loneliness and shame. Things of this nature are best packed into a box labeled FEAR and discarded as soon as possible. Try as we might, it is impossible to close the door on such things. This invites the wrong things into our lives. When our closets are full of peanut butter-covered children, cat poop, and mother-in-laws, there just isn’t any room for the good stuff like confidence, gratitude, resilience and contentment. These are the kinds of things that are truly worth hanging onto and should be placed in a box labeled LOVE and given top billing on an easy-to-reach shelf.

What are you hanging on to that you feel unable to part with? Have you formed a cohabitation agreement with your sorrows? Life is never short on negative experiences that leave us wounded.

He never loved you.

She loved someone else.

Dad left.

Mom drank.

Your coworkers spoke ill of you to your employer.

Your parents died when you were a baby, and you were sent to live with your insufferable aunt, uncle and cousin who forced you to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs, and almost prevented you from attending a prestigious school for witchcraft and wizardry. Ouch.

Whatever it is that you are holding on to, it is preventing you from living the kind of life you truly want to be living. There’s only one thing you can do about it, my friends.

Just ask the lady who cleaned out her closet. Life is much better when the doors will close.

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