A few years ago I was having a conversation with the woman who used to clean my house about my clutter issues, especially in my kitchen. There was an area that attracted the most piles and that was right to the corner of the refrigerator, around the microwave and down into the junk drawer below. I told her that I struggled to see how to organize it. I asked for her help. Together we cleaned out the entire area and it was empty except for the appliances, but to me that meant it was really empty. It made me slightly happy, but mostly very uncomfortable.

My clutter gave me comfort, something to close me in and help me to feel safe. What came along with that feeling of safety from clutter also came a lack of space. Space is something I crave and as I get older I realize how crucial it is for me to be able to breathe. Having two young children at home who have learned my messy ways doesn’t help, but little by little over the past few years I have slowly been opening up more and more. It is a process.

Last year we had to have our kitchen redone due to a leak so it was time to say goodbye to all that we didn’t need. This is no problem for my husband who is extremely neat and tidy. I am the one with the challenge here, but it felt freeing. Not even looking at the junk drawer and just dumping it into a garbage bag felt like a weight was cut off of me. We decided to then clean out our cluttered pantry, paint the interior and make it look nice and purposeful again. The pantry was another area that was hidden but plaguing like a dark deep shadow voice that called from the depths of clutter….clean me!! With each area we have tackled we have opened our lives a bit more. I think there’s something more meaningful to this then just straightening up which we now see on Marie Kondo’s show, Tidying Up. It is a release, a way to create space to open up into.

The issue that comes up though, is that when we create space to grow into we then really do have to allow that to happen without reverting to our old ways. Truth be told, I did clutter up the microwave area after we cleaned it out that first time. Now that we have new kitchen things have changed. I feel I have changed although I still have quite a ways to go. The reason that I mention all of this is that recently something good happened to me and space felt as if it were created. At first I was excited and then I started to feel anxious. I journaled about it and what came up was that I am afraid that I can’t handle the space and somehow I fear that I will fill it. I thought, how can I learn to trust myself in this process, allow the space to open rather than shut it down? I pictured a plant in a pot in my mind and thought of the point when it outgrows that pot. When that happens it needs to be moved to a larger pot. I wondered if in that space there is this uncomfortable feeling that there’s nothing to hold on to…no friction to push against until the plant grows again. That’s the feeling. The space between where we are and where we are growing. Can we allow that space without cluttering it up or moving back? I’m working on it.