Have you ever been shaken to your very core by an unexpected life event? Cataclysmic occurrences that left you in a static daze for months, maybe years trying to recover?
Hardly anyone gets to live a full lifetime without one of these occurrences knocking on their door. Although there’s much online regarding managing clutter, what do you think about emotional and mental clutter? How about the internal clutter that piles up inside us during a crisis?
In the same way that certain housekeeping habits keep our physical clutter in check, habits of self care catalyze the onslaught of complex emotions that often, weighty change incites. They take the common raw material of shock, denial, sadness and anger and help us assimilate it into coveted pearls of wisdom that often fuel life giving action.
Those of you that have stopped by my blog before are familiar with my message of how self care habits press the reset buttons on our minds, hearts and bodies on a regular basis, in effect preventing the stuff of everyday life from piling up.
Did you know though, how these same habits can be our saving grace when a windfall of “stuff” is left on our doorstep in the wake of a crisis?
There are parallels in how we process physical stuff and internal stuff. I have shared in recent posts about how physical clutter is, in my book, many delayed decisions regarding where items belong in your space. Like homeless orphans, physical items take up space and create chaos depending on how big they are. If it’s a junk drawer, then not so much. If its piles of items in your living room that have you taking a few minutes to find a place to sit, then yes, very much.
In managing the orphaned items of physical clutter your insides reconcile with the rightful place of items (garbage, donation, storage, on a shelf, in a woven basket, behind a brass picture frame etc.). Once “housed” the prior chaos is gone, spatial balance and mental peace are redeemed… you move on.
Finding a Home for Hiccups
Our internal dynamics when processing the daily stuff of life is essentially the same, with variation in styles due to our personalities. For example hiccups happen: we get parking tickets, forget to pack a lunch, turn our whites pink, in the wash etc. We find a home for and make peace with these irritants by doing one of 3 things 1) accepting it and deciding to learn from it, 2)taking it on as something to change and figure out or 3) abandoning and rejecting it completely.
In deciding where we stand with each little hiccup we find that situation a home and move on.
Big Change Brings Big Internal Clutter
Crisis though is bigger. Getting to those essential 3 choices takes longer, there’s phases and seasons to weather when crisis visit us. The emotions that arise are not mere irritants but tsunami waves of emotion that can easily engulf us.
Although more challenging, the same essential process remains, that of making a home for this big change within us.
Kinds of Crisis
Crisis can visit in the form of a loss of a job, loss of an important relationship through a fallout, breakup or divorce. It can be in moving homes or the death of a loved one. It can be change in a pivotal relationships in the manner of your only son moving out to college or when the basic dynamic of a dear friendship changes in the manner of one of you becoming a parent.
One day we open our front door ready to go about our business like all the days past and we’re stopped dead in our tracks with big change staring back at us.
Unlike those objects we bring into our home because we liked them at the store, we didn’t go out looking for the storage container arrival, of big change. They came on their own, much like those reign of terror, light up toys gifted to your kids that shriek and roar repetitive sounds throughout your home.
Sizing Up Whats Ahead
Big change is uncomfortable, inconvenient… painful. In attempting to size up the scale of the disruption they bring, we may ask ourselves natural questions such as “What does this mean for my job, my family, my partner, my pet, my finances, my health, my future, this relationship, my home?”.
We attempt to find a home for that big occurrence around the three essential choices.
Do I accept this, change it or leave it?
No Way But Through
During big change all 3 are hard. We may choose one thinking it will make it easier, but all big change is just that, change.
Whichever we choose one thing is for sure, we will be changed. Over that we have no choice. How we will change is where the universe shows mercy, that’s in our hands.
The Balls Drop
When we don’t completely process a big change we are in a state of emotional constipation. We may be walking in a state of stupor or deep grief and trying to cover it up, but the congested state shows itself in due time. Sooner or later, the balls we’ve been successfully juggling, those that keep our life moving along begin to drop.
Wrestling Takes the Stage
So much of us can be consumed with this ”challenge” that we begin to regularly forget important things like a bill to pay, a phone call to return, a work deadline to meet etc. These slips start to pile up and the details that kept your everyday life afloat begin to disrupt the bigger things like our job security, mortgages, marriages, kids report cards etc. Your life as you know it begins to fall to the wayside while your days continue to be taken hostage by your inner wrestling with your crisis.
Living Stuck In Time
Have you ever known someone who’s living space once understandably disheveled due to a crisis, never again regained its prior style and vibe, but instead became mired in clutter and neglect?
What I’ve found to be true is that during crisis I’m stretched beyond what I thought I was capable of.
It Doesn’t Have to be That Way
The first thing to naturally go by the wayside in times like these is any semblance of self care that may have been maintained. If you’ve invested in solid habits of self care enough time before the unwelcome visitation though, they actually carry you.
My Own Big Change
I myself am navigating a big change at this time. One that is still too close to home for me to open up about and have something that may be of use to you. What I do know with absolute certainty is that after putting in the effort to create my own self care habits for years, when I don’t have it in me to try, they carry me.
In the next post I will share exactly how.
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Thank you for making me a part of your day