Years ago, when in the middle of a divorce and balancing full-time work with raising two children under the age of four, I was given a very useful tool. The counselor advised that when I felt overwhelmed or anxious or depressed, “Go look for a drawer.” The focusing on taking everything out, deciding what was really needed, and returning each in an organized fashion was the goal.
I thought it was silly until the day I tried it. Just dumping the mess on the kitchen table felt like a release. I had to take a little time to figure out what needed to be in that particular drawer and what didn’t. Every decision of course was based directly on what I wanted and didn’t want. I felt a confidence growing when arranging the entire space to my design and tossed the leftovers into the trash or found a different drawer for its home.
What a calming experience that first and each successive drawer project was and has been. I realized I had control of some portion of my life, and I could even change my mind, if I desired.
Thinking now, I can also see where this small act contains the construct of having a beginning, a middle, and an end. When life just doesn’t seem to be feeling on track, when questions about the future are not answerable, and even when the middle of a trauma or drama seems out of control, I continue to look for a drawer. I practice that concept of starting a task, doing it, and finishing it every day when I can, even if it’s just sweeping the floor, making the bed, doing the dishes, sewing a potholder, or writing a short story.