When I got my first job – a job defined by over work and extreme levels of busyness, I remember the moment I realised that my to-do list would never be done. However hard I went at it, however many systems I tried to implement, my work was never ever done.
And I remember understanding on some level that this was the point. The stuff I was doing was the point. Getting everything checked off wasn’t.
I hadn’t thought about that for years.
But now, as I sit in a differently busy phase of my life, it seems like an important memory.
Because these days, with a family, and a home and an emerging business, and pets and a house that refuses to stay tidy or clean for even the briefest of moments – life is busy. It’s full to the brim. Most days it’s bubbling over with possibility and potentiality.
And then, to put the cherry on the cake, I have a smartphone. Which can, and does, connect me with the rest of the world at the briefest touch of a button. Which can portal me out of the business of work and home and transport me into the world of emails, the lives of my friends, and the lives of complete strangers. And has the ability to take my mind off at a complete tangent at any given moment.
There’s enough busyness to fill every single waking moment.
And what I’m starting to realise is that at times I’m feeling a bit like an overflowing drawer stuffed full of clothes. A drawer so full that the clothes can’t be folded anymore because they’re stuffed on top of each other. And they’re crumpled, and some of them are hanging out, like desperate commuters trying to muscle their way onto a tube carriage.
The kind of drawer where it’s hard to know what’s in there any more. Because when you’ve got a drawer like that (and in my house there’s always a drawer or two like that) all you can do is keep stuffing stuff on top of the other stuff. Jamming t-shirts on top of t-shirts. Pyjamas on top of pyjamas. And the stuff underneath gets kind of neglected. Your favourite top goes out of style, or the kids grow out of clothes that barely got worn. Because frankly, you completely forgot they’re there.
And whether we’re talking about drawers, or whether we’re talking about life – there comes a time when the stuffing stuff on top of stuff ceases to work. There comes a time when we can jam no more, when there is quite literally no more room at the inn.
And eventually it becomes apparent just how counterproductive this behaviour is. Maybe stuff just starts falling out of your metaphorical drawer. In fact, whenever my life is stuffed full to the brim, things start going awry – passports go missing, scheduling gets messed up, cars break down. The universe gives me very clear messages that the stuffing isn’t working any more. That it’s time to pause, and notice what’s happening.
And generally, when the veil of busyness gets lifted, it becomes clear that what’s needed is a time of unpacking. A time of taking the items out of the drawer, and taking a good look at them. Of rediscovering that shirt you loved so much, of letting go of clothes you’ve grown out of, that don’t serve you any more – and taking better care of the items that do.
It’s a cathartic process – whether you’re dealing with an overstuffed drawer or the way you’re living your life. It’s not pain free, especially as you realise what you’ve been neglecting. But in feeling the pain, it’s in your power to release it, and discover what’s lies beneath.
As ever, I’m teaching what I need to learn. If your life is also starting to look and feel like an overflowing drawer – join me. And know that as you start unpacking the overstuffed corners of your life, I’ll be doing the same. I’ll be dragging it all out with you, dumping it all on the floor, and discovering what it is I need to make room for.
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Did this resonate with you? Are you interested in applying the perspectives here to your own life? Work with me, and we can really get into it. I love talking about this stuff even more than I love writing about it (and that’s a lot).