Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Storm Before the Calm

After working for a while to clean out my son's closet, I made the mistake of taking a break to look around the room: total chaos. A pile of stuff to give away in one corner; another coupla things to move into my closet; recycling; trash; mismatched shoes; a pile for other judgment calls and way way more. It was much worse than when I started, and gross and ugly and actively stressful to be in the room with.

Instinctual door number 1 upon really looking at this vile wasteland, was to throw it all back into the closet and close the door, leave it for another day.

Door # 2, tell my son to finish the job (as if) and go make myself a nonfat sugar free dessert--yum!

Door #3, leave it for a few days and come back to it, hoping it would take care of itself.

Okay, so you noticed, my 1st, 2nd and 3rd "instincts" were all basically the same: run!

Fourth, not instinctual, but based on knowledge and experience, suck it up, keep on sorting, go downstairs and get some bags and boxes, start getting things out of the room and into other places.

That's the door I chose. Thirty minutes later, the room looks great, the stuff is elsewhere and I feel that fantastic and slightly pathetic sense of accomplishment that only finishing tangible petty projects can give.

Why is it that we can know this and trust this when it comes to reorganizing a closet and not when it comes to reorganizing our lives? It's exactly like this in emotional and spiritual change too: very very close to the end, when you're just about to see real beauty and feel real accomplishment, you look around and see only chaos: the money you haven't made since you quit your day job, the people who have trouble with your changes, the fear you feel at the unknown.

At that point (okay, I know you have my point now, but hear me out) we think it's "instinctual" to close the door, run away and stuff the chaos down, choose your poison. We fool ourselves into thinking that we're hearing our inner voice speak the truth, "Sara, who are you kidding? why did you think you could do this?", etc. But this voice is only what author, psychologist and workshop leader Maria Nemeth calls "monkey mind."

Monkey Mind is not your friend. Monkey Mind is the toxic mimic of intuition, posing as your better self to get you to walk away from your real better self. Don't listen to this so-called voice. Success is close at hand. Trust your intention. You did this for a reason. Follow it through. It will work.

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