THE ORGANIZING ANGEL
Divine intervention to help you keep your life and materials in order by Linda Bale, Head Angel
Thoughts on Organizing Linda Bale My friend told me, “My closet is out of control. What do I do to get rid of things?” Emotionally, those are harsh words, “Get rid of.” These are things we have carefully collected over decades! People we love and some we have lost have given us gifts and we worry that we won’t remember if we don’t have that thing to remind us of that relationship, where we were and what they said, things like that. Those “things” are hard to “get rid of.” We have treasures we discovered on a shopping trip. They are souvenirs of happy times. Some we paid big money to get them. More than we usually pay. We feel guilty that we didn’t use them as much as we thought we would. Getting rid of them is like throwing money away. Sometimes, we buy because it makes us feel good when other things in our lives don’t feel good. Buying something new and bringing it home is voting for change. We want change and shopping is a symbolic way to do it. What hurts is getting the stuff home and the irritation hasn’t gone away. We don’t even get the things we bought out of the bag. When life gets super busy, there is a swirl of action inside with no time for “put backs.” Busy days and nights layering one on top of the other make us crazy at home. We know we have that thing ‘somewhere’ but we don’t have time to find it. We look and look. It goes on the next shopping list or we jump in the car and get it right then. We can’t take ‘that much time’ to find a simple dah dah. When we sort later, we have a dozen dah dahs. Shopping as entertainment is like a day fishing, a day hunting, or a day competing in a game. Finding the keeper in a lake of nibblers, the biggest and best bargain, and the prize purchase makes us feel like a winner. It’s especially fun when there are friends nearby to cheer our success. We get to tell the story over and over whenever anyone notices our find. With all these emotions around our things, how can we “just get rid of?”
Factually, our things are things. If you weren’t there, your things would look like things to any one else. You are the story that holds them together. You are the glue. You provide the magnetic power. You have collected and arranged a world. You are the creator of that world. What is it like living in your world? Is there room for you? Is there room only for you?
Rather than asking “How do I get rid of?” ask “What kind of world do I want to create?” What will my world look like, feel like, smell like, taste like, work like? Who will live in it with me? Who will I invite in? Who and what will be asked to leave or never invited in? Your world is your sanctuary. Your world is your declaration. Your world is your expression of what you believe. It speaks without speaking. It is worth your creative effort. It spins on your energy.
Getting practical, here are a few questions to ask: What do I love? What works for me over and over? Is there a better version out there? Do I need a fresh one? One that fits me now? (Put it on the list.) Is there a new use for this thing I’ve had that’s too good to “get rid of”?
If I had to choose, which things would I take with me? Is there a pattern to what I buy and collect? Why do I choose these over and over? What do I love about them? Is there a story behind the action? What is my vision that drives the accumulation? What am I getting ready to do? What would happen if I didn’t have this? Who would care if I gave this away? What could I say if someone near me asks, “Why are you doing this?” Why are you changing your world? What in your world hasn’t been working for you? How long has it been broken? What happened to you? Are you better? Do you have the energy to do this now? Will you have the energy later? What does it cost when your life doesn’t work? What will it cost to fix it? Who will you ask to help you? How will you pay for it? How long will their help last? Do you need regular help? What could you offer in exchange?
What is the smallest thing you can do right now? What is the biggest? What is the mountain you can’t climb by yourself? What is the area you can’t handle? How open are you to receiving words from someone you trust? Can you trust a little bit, even when it seems crazy what the ‘experts’ are saying? Do you know that your life matters? To God? If you were the only one that was lost, in all the world, the only one left behind and losing the race, even dropped out of the race, God is looking for you. (Luke 15, The Bible.) Can you see a way in front of you that looks good and you want to go there? Can you see a future that feels good to you? Can you see a work that you can do and it would be a service to someone else? Could you do it regularly and it would bring you joy?
What are your commitments? What matters to you? Who matters to you? What do you have that they need? How can you best serve them? Where and when? What supplies do you need? What resources?
What systems support your work in the world? What partnerships can you develop? What do you need to be “dressed and ready?” What do you need to “restore and rest?” What is your schedule? Any changes overdue? Who needs to know?
The questions continue: Am I wanting something that I don’t need right now? What am I saying over and over that I if I had “this,” my life would be better? Is it true? Is this thing affordable, doable, accessible? Are there things I can do to make what I have really shine? Maybe I just need some elbow grease and polish. (Jeff Helander was waxing the 2003 Cavalier because it is going to be his now. He is 16 tomorrow.) Is there a way to maintain, clean up, fix what I have so I like using it? (Am I, literally, holding onto garbage?) Does what I use need to go in a different place? Does what I have need a container to keep all the pieces/parts together? Do my hobbies need a closet, a room, or a warehouse? Is there a way to divide and conquer my piles of paper?
The things I use the most deserve the best spots in my space. Some need cover and others can be out in the open. They can all be within easy reach. Is that how it is for me? If my goal is to serve the people in my life, how do they like to be served? What is their preferred medium? If I wonder what I can do for someone, have I considered what I would like if I were them?