This past week Mike and I had the somewhat arduous task of mouse proofing our house. Because we were in some denial about how significant the problem was we thought just getting a couple of humane mouse “traps” would do the trick. I think this was because we really, really didn’t want to take out each and every single thing from all the kitchen cabinets. And, of course, that is precisely what we ended up doing.
Not surprising, when you pull out everything hiding way back in their dark corners you come up with lots of things you didn’t have a clue you even owned. Two angel food cake pans? Multiple nutcrackers? Six margarita glasses? In the end, we took out three bags of junk and filled three boxes of stuff that found a new home at Goodwill. This was a good bit of tidying up and I was pleased about that, but mostly I wished I had had the day back and spent it reading a good book in the sun. On the other hand, if I had spent it in the sun I would never have rediscovered a beautiful green vase that I’ve always treasured. And I would still have little mousy friends as roommates.
Taking a closer look at unpleasant feelings can be a lot like this. Sometimes those pesky sensations come and go with very little attention and with the hope that they will somehow get disinterested and go away. We might even use a number of entertaining distractions and hope for the best. Of, course, feelings typically don’t budge. It’s when we face the facts and decide to “clean out the cabinets” that we find stories and sometimes even habits that have cluttered our thinking and held us back. And, in getting rid of the clutter (letting go of these stories) we are then free to see what it is we really want.
I noticed recently that something seemed to be missing in my life. I told myself repeatedly that it was ridiculous since, in truth, my life is filled with gratitude for all I have. (Now that I think about it, that’s kind of funny thing to think—it’s like I was saying to myself, “No more needs for you!”) Well, this could go on for only so long, and finally, it came time to sit with the discomfort so I could hear what it was trying to tell me. Like the beautiful vase I found, I discovered how much I want time for creativity, discovery, and self-expression. These things somehow always end up migrating to the back of the cabinet. But without attention isn’t that a little like saying they have to stand in the back of the bus? That has my attention.
Cleaning the cabinets after the mouse relocation project was hard work. So too with finding time. You know this too, right? How do people find time? I’m not sure but that’s where I’m headed.