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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Lockett

Notes from the Closet Floor

Bright light cuts through the dark, quiet space as I begin to type a text. "I am sitting in my closet because the floor is lava."

I wish the floor was lava, then I wouldn't have to figure out what to do with the stacks of books, and papers, and random accouterments making it impossible for me to leave my office.

It's shocking, right? Somewhere between a dump station and a Hobby Lobby sales bin.

How do I get ANY work done in a space like this?

Well, I don't.

I've been working from a folding table in my living room for at least two months.


Because I've been shoving everything I don't want to deal with into this already cramped room. Piling up filing, books I need to read, and boxes that might be useful later.

It was so easy to throw things I didn't want to look at in this room and shut the door on them--until I had to go in to find something. Opening the door is much less enjoyable than closing it. Facing what I have tucked away in my heart, all the clutter and chaos, is much the same.

As I enter a season of cleanout (most sane people do spring cleaning, but I prefer winter throw-it-all-away-and-start-a-new-life-in-another-country), I'm thinking a lot about the state of my inner and outer worlds.

I've spent a lion's share of my time feeling shame over the overwhelming, purpose-burying mess in both places. So much so, that I've avoided cleaning up.


So today, instead of thinking, "Wow, I am so disorganized and messy and I should be embarrassed" I looked at the mess and I told myself it was an opportunity to start over--put things where I want them, throw away what no longer serves me to create room for new things that bring me joy and make my life easier.

In the same way, I am learning to speak to myself with that optimistic kindness and compassion. Maybe there is a mess, or maybe it is overwhelming, but telling myself "Wow, I wish I didn't feel this way all the time. I need to just get over it. I am so embarrassed." only perpetuates the cycle of piling garbage when I miss the mark.

Instead, I, and you, should give ourselves grace and time when the chambers of our hearts get too full. We'll open the door and tackle the closet when we're ready. And when we do, we'll have so much more room for joy--and we might find a few dollars in the pocket of an old backpack.

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