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Clutter in the Closet. Clutter in the brain.



The past few days I've been feeling "out of sorts". After four years of sobriety I've come to recognize this as a time where things are shifting. It's not comfortable, but I'm no longer afraid of feeling uncomfortable because I know when this ends (and it will) and I come out the other side, I'll have learned something.


So, this morning I looked around my office and clothes closet and saw clutter. Not a lot - about a week's worth. That makes sense because I've been off my game for about a week now. My outside is reflecting my inner turmoil.


First things first - a saying from early days of sobriety in the rooms. I start sorting the clothes laying on the closet floor - dirty, clean - and tidy the shelves and bins. Much better. Amazing how an orderly closet brings a sense of accomplishment... and peace of mind. Everything in its place.


Now the office - I make notes of files to label on the computer and on real paper files. Then I decide to first dump some of this brain clutter out on a blog hoping it resonates with someone else and do some good today.


My sobriety and healthy living is all connected in my actions and thoughts. How I feel, how I think is how I will act. I've known for the past few days that the sight of clutter piling up was bothering me, but I ignored it. Instead I've focused on a million other things I need to do - so many things that it's overwhelming and I feel I'll never get done. So, in a panic I've been trying to do all the million things at once - no focus - just sheer panic which stems from fear.


Aha - fear. My old companion has been playing with my mind the past week. That explains a lot. Fear of what?

  • Failure

  • Not being good enough

  • Of being poor

  • Of letting my husband down

  • Of rejection

And all of it reflected in the chaos of my closet.


Living an emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy life takes daily maintenance. I could have kept right on plowing through the next few days, weeks, years even, just pushing myself and using self will to stubbornly try to force everything to come together when I want. Instead, all I got was clutter.


Now that I clearly identified the fears that have been causing me the "out of sorts" feeling this week, I can look at each of them and ask myself the Byron Katie question from her work on thoughts, "Is it true?" My thoughts, I have discovered, are not my truth. They are old lies and beliefs from my past.


And with that knowledge, I look at the fears and throw them in the bin with my dirty clothes. No more brain clutter. My house is clean for today.


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I use closet organizers for my tiny closet, that really help. Whatever doesn't fit - seasonal items - go under the bed in storage bins.

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