|Posted on April 4, 2016 at 8:00 PM|
Sometimes the most ordinary and common are also the most sacred; sharing a meal with someone, witnessing nature, and certainly being invited into someone’s living space, which is itself, sacred. This past week I did all three as part of my work. I was hired to declutter, organize, and create a functional living arrangement where there currently was none, a process that is an intimate balancing act in so many ways. I am not only in someone’s home, I am in their business up to my elbows and then some. No secrets, no boundaries. This is a brave undertaking for the client, especially when they have become buried to the point where they are paralyzed. Buried in shame. Buried in self-doubt. Buried.
There are so many reasons for why this happens, and yet it always comes back to stuff overtaking a life, having more stuff than one can manage. It is the reason we move to bigger living spaces, so we can spread out our stuff or put it in closets. It is the reason we have storage facilities by the tens of thousands, so we can get our stuff out of the house and not deal with it. But what if your circumstances don’t allow for these options? What if you and your stuff must continue to co-exist? It sounds so easy to just purge and move on, but that doesn’t allow for all the emotional stuff that piles up in sync with the physical stuff.
Look around you. What you are surrounded by, what you have filled your space with, you have deemed sacred. You may have done this intentionally or unintentionally, but you have done it. You have declared the belongings in your space sacred by giving them room, by allowing them to occupy your time, by allotting money to purchase, clean and store them. You have made them a priority, and if you look around and feel ease, that is wonderful. But often, the very keepsakes people proclaim as meaningful are temporarily lost, tucked away, buried in the midst of too much stuff. I hear it frequently, “I wondered where that was”, “Oh, I thought I had lost that”. If you look around and are uncomfortable or sad or overwhelmed, it may be time for change. You get to choose. You get to decide what your priorities are. You get to create your sacred.
But sometimes we forget that is what we are doing--creating a sacred space. We get busy. We acquire things. And then the all too familiar: that moment when we encounter a mess--a pile of dirty dishes or laundry, an out-of-control closet, an entry that has become a dumping ground--and we don’t know quite where to start. Imagine your whole house like that. Imagine inviting someone into that. Imagine your feelings. I have such respect for my clients, including this week’s courageous woman. It could not have been an easy decision to call me and invite me into her home. But her reward was her own success in creating a new sacredness. We dug in within seconds of my arrival. No specific plan besides moving forward. One thing at a time. Keep, donate, trash. Create zones. Gather like things together. And all the while making sure that my client really saw her items, touched each one, released or embraced it, and finally placed it in her home or put it in a box to go. She exhibited courage. She shared her stories. She placed such a great deal of trust in me and in the process. And in the end, she won. Client one. Stuff zero.
For four long days, we worked side by side, stopping briefly for lunch on her porch, listening to the birds sing, and discussing our next move. And while it is easy to see the change and the growth in my clients, the truth is that every one of them creates change and growth in me. I am humbled. I am grateful. I am painfully aware of the gift that is shared when I am invited into their lives by way of their homes and their stories, and above all I am reminded that we are one. We share common experiences, emotions, desires, battles and victories. Our lives may look very different, our spaces may look very different, but if we can sidestep judgement, we are gifted the chance to glimpse the collective consciousness of humanity. We are gifted the knowledge that our circumstances do not define us. We are gifted each other. And that my loves, is to be gifted the Universe.