What happens when a Professional Organizer has to work through an emotionally draining, daunting project for herself? She Kung Fu fights her way through it.
I recently organized my small home office & paperwork. When I told a good friend that I moved 4 & 1/2 bags of trash out she said "From where?" She's seen my space. It's tidy, small & everything has a home. Including the stacks of notebooks, paperwork & miscellaneous items I had been squirreling away in my desk drawers in a somewhat organized fashion. I learned from the best at how to hide the clutter; my clients are true pros at this & so was I in this category of my life. The rest of my home was & is organized. I love organizing for myself, I'm not one of those people that only thrives on organizing for others. However, after years of navigating some pretty abnormal situations that have a lot of anxiety linked to them, I knew I couldn't deal with this project until I was ready. Just like I tell my clients. I could feel the time approaching so I set a goal a couple of weeks ago, calendared the time & when D-Day arrived I dug in.
So many emotions were felt as I sorted & purged that paperwork, I found myself reading notes I wrote to myself, lists, goals and dreams to manifest. Paperwork that was bringing up friendships that have fallen apart, relationships that weren't meant to be, business ties that weren't what they seemed, family that is on a different path than me, therapists with bad & good advice, good people I'm incredibly thankful for, loyal clients, achievements, funny memories and as a result all of the emotions that exist were felt as I worked on this project I had been avoiding for that very reason. I found quotes from geniuses doing amazing work or thinkers from the past with words of influential wisdom. I found my history of recent years in list form in this small, 7' x 7' space. A lot of tears were shed. My clients often cry at some point while we work together & I always tell them that it's okay to cry, I cry too. This was no exception as I faced the hardest memories. I found myself crying, thinking "I can't go through all of this" to only fight through that feeling thinking "You have to Kung Fu fight your way through this. Work hard for the release it will give you." Kung Fu means hard work. You have to work hard to organize not only your space but your experiences so that they feed you in a positive way even if they've caused suffering. You have to fight for it. The silver lining. I coached myself the same way I coach my clients. At one point I thought, "If there were a Professional Organizer here with me helping me through this, I would kiss her feet."
After 3 days I had my organized space complete. Every item touched, weighed in on, furniture rearranged, everything dusted. I felt the release I fought for. The hardest paperwork to see is now organized chronologically, labeled & no longer a darkness. It's a story. A story that isn't over but that has made me stronger. That has made me a better person. A better Professional Organizer. For this, I am eternally thankful. I'm thankful for the messes we make. Without them, we wouldn't appreciate the tidy, clean moments of happiness. The moments that standstill in time, reminding us that our purpose is to live fully. The moments that, if I could, I'd capture in a mason jar like children capture fireflies in the summer to watch them glow. I know that going through this project after going through all I have in recent years will come in handy with my clients. I've already been talking to them about it. When I say "I get how hard this is," I always have & now it's very fresh in my mind.
One of the themes that came into my thoughts as I organized was healing. Healing isn't easy. You have to work for it. Especially if you've been through some sort of trauma, which a lot of people have. You can either let it paralyze you, staring backward wondering what just happened or you can look forward, face the reality & make a decision to move through it. Sometimes you go between both, getting stronger along the way until finally it isn't your nemesis but instead your friend. It is hard work, you have to Kung Fu fight your way through it. The release is worth it. It will make you stronger. You can do it. Embrace the messes we make to get to the good stuff. Face the tough decisions. Organize the hard stuff. One item at a time. How it affects you is up to you but if you're ready for it to create positive change & momentum in your life it will. I know it.