I had an interesting conversation with a client the other day.
She mentioned how she worries about other people thinking she’s not organized, and she doesn’t want other people thinking that she doesn’t have it together.
And, I can relate to this, cause my brain likes to go there, too.
When it comes to other people’s opinions and what we don’t want other people to think about us, I have found that it is useful to replace the word “think” with the word “know.”
I don’t want people to know that I’m not organized.
I don’t want people to know that I don’t have it together.
Cause what is actually happening is that these are things we are thinking about ourselves, and we are afraid of other people thinking those things about us, too.
That being said, if you are anything like me or my client, it is likely that you tend to think of “organized” and “put together” in terms of absolutes. Like you either are or you aren’t (and yet you may find yourself bouncing back and forth between the two).
The way we view it isn’t really how it works, though.
We feel organized and put together when we are thinking about the aspects of our lives that we associate with those qualities.
The truth is that there are always parts of our lives that are “organized,” and there are always parts of our lives that are not.
There are always ways that we are “put together” and there are always ways that we are not.
And what if that can all be okay?
What if the point is not to be totally put together and organized, but to acknowledge and accept that one cannot exist without the other?
When I want to make something more organized, it gets more chaotic first.
Chaos is part of order.
There’s a time and space for mess. Chaos is fertile ground for breaking the chains of habit and finding new worlds and new ways of living. Chaos breaks down entrenched patterns and habits. Too little chaos is as dangerous as too much. The right amount of chaos frees us from the status quo. Without a tolerance for some chaos, we will be stuck and trapped in old systems of order that don’t serve us anymore.
The paradox of order is that often, in the cleaning process, things get messier before they get cleaner.
When we’re cleaning out a closet, all the chaos on the inside has to first make its way out. We pull out well-worn shoes, socks, or gloves with missing mates, plus half-filled boxes with items whose worth is long forgotten. The mess goes from contained to uncontained as the area around the closet is strewn with the closet debris.
In fact, the greater the mess we create in the process of making order, the deeper and more complete our new ordering can be.
We may pull out all the junk in the closet, but until we also drag out the boxes of stuff and sort through them, the available space in our closet will not be maximized.
Mess precedes order. No mess, no order.
Sometimes an over attachment to order thinly masks our need for control.
The relationship between anxiety and control is well known. In the name of order, we may be demanding control and avoiding fear.
When we work on the trait of order, we must be especially mindful of our tendencies to either avoid or cede control to chaos. Too much of either one is problematic, yet in proper balance an ordered life (open to periodic chaos) is a productive life and allows us to make ourselves in the image of the Divine.
Everything has a place in time and space.Edith Brotman
I love this so much!! I read this well over a year ago and it came back to me as writing this blog post – I had to go look it up and share my favorite parts. 🙂
But I digress. My point here is this – what if nothing has gone wrong when things are a mess?
And what if mess, whatever that looks like, doesn’t have to mean anything about you?
In my opinion, what makes mess so painful is what we make it mean about us, which often comes up in the form of asking ourselves disempowering questions, such as:
What’s wrong with me?
Why can’t I get it together?
And thinking in general that things should be different than they are.
But what if we could say yes to it all?
Yes to the chaos, and yes to the order.
Chaos is part of order.
As Marie Kondo says in the intro of her Netflix series, “I LOVE mess!!”
That seriously blew my mind when I heard her say that, and it changed my life from that moment forward.
She LOVES mess? How can you LOVE mess?!
It was then that I realized I didn’t love mess. At all. I liked the end result of clean and organized. But, this was in large part because of all the things I was making any mess mean about me.
This is still something I’m working on, but here is one thing I know for sure…the messes in our lives mean nothing about us. We are just as worthy and valuable and capable whether things are “clean and organized” or whether they are a “big, hot mess.”
What if that’s true?
What would it be like for you to love mess?
P.S. I love the saying, ‘Where the mind goes, energy flows.” Even our thoughts need ordering. “The word of ordering, carving out time and space, asks us to clean out, pull apart, and then examine all the structures and habits of our lives. Creating order is about making space; it is an act of creation. At first, putting things together may feel a lot like taking things apart.” Edith Brotman
If you’d like help bring more order to your thoughts and in turn to your life, book a free session with me!! The pilot program I’ve been doing is coming to an end next week, and I have spots opening starting the week after that. I’ll help you understand where you are now and where you want to go, including any obstacles that are in your way. We will talk about what your problem is and how to solve it. Click here to book now; and if none of the available spots work for you, message me with your availability and I’ll do my best to find a time that works for both of us!