I can’t tell you how many times recently I’ve gone through that bag either looking for something I need – like the car keys or my phone – or to sort through the mess of receipts, shopping lists, snack wrappers, hair clips and so on which seem to congregate rapidly in that space.
And yet, despite upon occasion drawing out something damp and slightly sticky, the apple must have remained hidden for weeks.
This incident happened just after I’d finally cleaned up some mouldy windows in our house that I’ve avoided dealing with for months. And the two things happening together showed me just how easy it is to feel that I’ve done the job of clearing out the past, that I’m sorted and over the events and issues that pushed my buttons in the past. And yet, even at that moment, there’s something rotting and mouldering right under my nose.
Our subconscious works like this. If we don’t pay attention to the hints that arise in those damp and sticky moments (situations where we react strongly or inappropriately, in our dreams, or in the people, tasks or places we avoid), we’ll never find those rotten apples.
And now that my handbag has been washed and is drying in the airing cupboard I can see all the contents of my bag laid out on the kitchen table, and can sort through all the other unnecessary stuff I’ve been – quite literally – carrying around with me.
It feels, this new year, like a time to dust out the corners, to clean up the mould and let some fresh air in. To find those rotten apples, laugh at how I’ve hidden then from myself in plain sight, and place them in the compost so they can provide nourishment for something new to grow.