Whenever we are confronted with an especially difficult phase of our lives, we usually find ourselves asking (or pleading) the universe for a change. We say to the Greater Force, “Can this just be over already? I am tired of feeling [insert current emotion that is drowning you here]. Justdo something about it already.”
We are asking for a change from the Thing that is bigger than us — whatever He/She/It may be for you. How you envision it doesn’t matter. What matters is that nothing can happen, outside help or not, if there isn’t room for it to happen.
Think of a giant chest of drawers. Let it represent how you envision your Self, compartmentalizing all the different parts of You. Maybe it looks like an elaborately carved wooden bureau, with a million little doors, each holding a different part of your life. Maybe you would rather see it as a sturdy file cabinet, with a small number of heavy drawers, where you only put the most important things. Whatever your compartments may look like doesn’t matter. What we all have in common is that, at most times, all of these compartments are filled.
We have a family drawer, which may hold our mom and dad and our siblings. It could hold our very best friend who was more of a sister to us than anyone blood related. It could hold your grandparent who was like a mother to you. It could most definitely be holding your beloved pet that you consider a first-born child. It could be holding wonderful memories, or it could contain negative and dark parts we never, ever look at.
Our other big one is the relationship compartment. Most obviously, it could be holding our current partner. It could be so full to the brim with love that it hardly shuts. Maybe it holds two people. Or it could possibly be holding the remnants of someone who doesn’t need to be there anymore. Maybe this drawer feels scary and empty. Or it feels like it is holding something (or someone) it shouldn’t be.
What about the drawer that holds our passions? If this drawer is full in all the right ways, this means that you are cultivating energy around those things you are most in love with – the things that light you up and define you. But if this drawer is full of something heavy and that doesn’t sit right, maybe what is in there doesn’t belong. Perhaps the thing filling that drawer right now is only temporary, and holding space for something bigger and better.
Envision all your most important compartments, then take a second to sit with them. Do some feel heavier than others? Do some feel weirdly empty? Do some seem to be overflowing with stuff that doesn’t even belong there? Do some feel neat, tidy, and just as they should be?
If this is a hard concept to grasp, it is all leading to the idea of making space.
Let’s say you are looking at your relationship drawer. It looks empty as… well, you know. You say to yourself, “See? My drawer is empty. Why isn’t anything coming and filling it up? Its emptiness is just begging for a relationship!”
But is it really empty? Look into the corners of that drawer; pull it out of its hinges and investigate it. You may see some fear in the corner. Or some resentment. You may see the face of someone you thought you’d let go of. You may see a little wadded up piece of paper in there saying “Don’t do it. You’ll just get hurt again.” This is not an empty drawer. To really make space for the thing that truly belongs in here, we need to not just feel like the drawer is empty, but make a concentrated effort to purge anything in there. So we let go of fear and resentment. We forgive (or not), but no longer cling to old, crusty, negative emotions. We say to the old us that wrote that note, “Well, if I got through that, then I can get through whatever else life throws at me!”
Once that drawer has been scrubbed clean of all the things tarnishing it, then it is truly ready to hold what was meant for it: something positive and good and just right. The same goes for all the other drawers. We have to embark on the journey to get what we want with a clean slate. Bringing our baggage with us is only going to cause clutter. Choose to invest more time in the things you want and less time into things you already know you want to get rid of. Don’t feed the monster, as I like to say. It is the same thing as stuffing the drawer full of crap you don’t need.
We make space for good things by being good. We cultivate healthy relationships through being a healthy person. We draw in what we give out. So, if the monster that lives in the drawer is making a presence in your life once more because he’s made quite a comfy home in there, it may be about time for an eviction. What parts in your life need a mini-renovation? Take some elbow grease to that drawer and clear it out.
Here’s the kicker, though. You won’t ever really know when it is completely clean. Sure, it may look clean and feel clean, but there are some corners we just can’t ever get to, no matter how hard we look. And that is okay. Because when you are ready, the universe (or God or Buddha or your own personal energy) will give you exactly what that drawer needed.And when you get it, you will realize you weren’t even anxious about filling it anymore. Because “being ready” means you were too busy being happy about other stuff to worry about feeding the Impatience Monster in that bottom compartment. So he starved. And something wonderful took his place.
Trust that time and patience will give you what you need for your drawers. But also trust in yourself and in your ability to cultivate these things.
“Practice and all is coming.” -Sri K. Pattabhi Jois