Purging in Purgatory

You know that place you sometimes go where you feel all itchy and unsettled inside. Like you don’t know if you should go out and run a mile

or just sit down on the floor in a puddle and try to cry?

You’re feeling something but you can’t quite name it? You’re not happy, you’re not sad, but somewhere in between and it’s definitely not content. You’re just feeling displaced and well,

feeling as though you’re visiting purgatory.

I visit the purgatory, in no way under my own volition, whenever get a little stressed or feel slightly out of control. And when I’m here, I feel the need to clean my house. To be the mistress of my domain. Participate in something, even if it’s something as insignificant as washing my kitchen floor, and feel as though I’ve facilitated change.

Accomplished something tangible.

Completed a task.

Success I can see.

When I linger in this purgatorial emotional space for a bit longer than usual, I start purging. But unlike Dante’s purgatory where time is spent purging sin, I purge articles and objects I’ve accumulated. I toss out plants that annoy me for needing more than water to survive. I pack up and donate clothing to the Salvation army (in one purging zeal, when I concluded that I had far too many black boots, I threw out several pairs, unintentionally including an expensive pair I had bought a month before…Now I’m a more discerning purger).

I will determine who, er I mean what will stay and what will stay within the walls of my sanctuary and what will go.

Today, frighteningly enough, I even tippy-toed my fingers through my three bookcases in an attempt to weed my library (almost two-hundred volumes) settling on only two that I could part with. So I must not be too far past the threshold of purgatory to feel compelled to part with my beloved books.

Fortunately (unfortunately?) I don’t visit this “purgatory” very often. At least not often enough to keep on top of a collection of shoes and magazines and club soda cans that accumulate at a rapid rate in my home.

But when I do, the mindless organizing

and tossing

and cleaning

takes my mind off the unsettledness inside and as an end result I have a spotless abode free of some clutter,

and a mind blessedly free of a bit of clutter as well

if only for a little while.

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