My mom had a mouse problem. She’d probably kill me if she knew I was telling you that. However, seeing as she’s one of my three subscribers, she’ll find out soon enough! Mice are typical when you live on an acreage in rural America. (Side note for those of you who don’t know me, “acreage” for my mom is 3 acres, but let’s roll with it ) In light of her problem, I helped clean out her kitchen cabinets a couple of weeks ago. You see, her kitchen cabinets were the mice’s playground so they needed a good cleaning.
As I sat down on her kitchen floor and started pulling out dishes, I immediately noticed the dishes in the back corners, those rarely touched, were covered in old mouse droppings. Over the years, as mice had taken up residence for the winter, my mom would wipe out her cabinets as she evicted the mice. What became apparent, though, was that she didn’t reach to the back of the cabinets – the far corners where it was difficult to reach.
I began to realize how much these cabinets resembled my life – or my former life. For years, I took care of what was on the surface, the pieces of me that showed outwardly to my friends, family and coworkers. My nails were always polished, my wardrobe classy, make up on point and a smile firmly planted on my face.
On the surface, I was clean. Polished. Happy. However, people couldn’t see into the dark corners of my soul. Hell, I didn’t want to see the dark corners of my soul – my struggles, my unhappiness, my fears or my anxieties. Instead of shining the light into the darkness and addressing the issues, I ignored them. I pretended they weren’t there. I put on my armor, as Brene Brown calls it, and outwardly appeared to be “fine.” I wasn’t fine.
It’s only when we’re willing to shine a light into the corner of our souls that we begin to recognize what we’re doing. We’re covering the problem. We’re putting on armor as we go into defense mode, rather than facing whatever it is that troubles us. For me, my armor was heavy. The load became too much to bear and I finally reached a breaking point. Everyday I am grateful for my meditation, journaling and yoga practice. I’ve learned to be comfortable in my messy state. This is who I am. And if that makes others uncomfortable, then they’re not my people.
So I challenge you to take a good look at your life. Dig deep. Where are you skimming the surface? Where do you need to do some deep cleaning? Don’t be afraid to get a little messy as you work on yourself. It’s such a rewarding and transformational experience.