Wow. This week was a mess for me. It was a drop to my knees, throwing up kind of messy. It made me take off work kind of messy, which is a rarity in my world. It got me thinking about the metaphorical shit storm we all endure in this thing we call life.
Messy can look different for every person. For me, it is that moment when you can no longer sort out what is up and what is down. It is when you are emotionally paralyzed and can no longer determine what you need to get back on track. You attempt to fall into routine because it provides security, yet you are living every moment unsettled and riddled with unease. You go through the motions, but your mind and body inhabit different spaces.
I am not sure how much mess has accumulated in your days, life, and hearts, but I know that we have all been overwhelmed with moments that take our breath away. The mess of life will surely come, so what can we make of the clean up process?
Here is what I have gleaned from my week:
Find your “must” in the mess and ditch the plan. A must in life is not a choice. It is something you simply have to do. In every moment of chaos you are met with a moment to prioritize your focus. You have a limited amount of things you can see at once. What must you do in the moment you are in? Your mind and body must hang on tight to one another to keep your heart and your thinking in the same place so you can take a steady step into the next moment. If we let our focus go rogue we are everywhere, essentially keeping us nowhere. When we are nowhere we do not have the concentrated will to be who we need to be for ourselves and others. This effort means we have to be okay releasing our attachment to plans. A plan is only an option for a future you think you can count on and that is building a house on sand. The truth is no one can predict the future even by the minute, so plans are great to have on hand but may need to be evacuated at any second. Keep your heart on the end game, but have your eyes on the road knowing that at any moment you may need to refigure your route.
Humanity is a fragile experience. The only time you can realize your own strength is when you feel the devastation of being broken. Being broken is an opportunity to see your vulnerabilities and build yourself back better. Think of the child who intently works on building his tower with his blocks. He concentrates as he puts every piece in just the right place. Then one move goes wrong and in a split second the whole structure takes a tumble to the floor. The child cries and feels hopeless. He quickly states, “I can NEVER build it that high again. It is too hard to do.” The trusted adult comforts the child and assures him, “You can build it again and when you do it will be even better. You will learn from your mistakes and make an even higher tower.” The child musters up his courage and starts over, old mistakes in hand and determined to try again. This is the approach we must take in our lives. We will always intently be building a tower and at any second it may tumble down. We must have the confidence that when we rebuild ourselves we will be a stronger, sturdier version of ourselves.
Nothing is permanent in an impermanent world. Why have we convinced ourselves that every day will look the same and nothing will change? The only guarantee in life is that nothing is permanent. This does not mean we should spend our moments in constant worries about what we may lose. However, it does mean we should accept and respect the process of loss as a period of transition not elimination. Things change. Life will change. We will change. We are meant to evolve. Our loss and grief is nothing more than an alert to a new stage of our lives. When the flower withers away into the dirt we assume it is gone. We do not see that below the dirt there remains a seed that will bloom again. Whether it is the loss of a job, unexpected illness, or the loss of a loved one we must remember we are not being dealt an ending but a new beginning. It will be uncomfortable, painful, and life changing. Acceptance of loss is heavy and tests our faith. Take the time to absorb, but remember the seed; with your tears a new beginning will bloom.
Embrace your mess, and meet it head on. Bring your broom and sweep away the fears that life will never be good again. Peace lies below the heartache, it just needs you to remember that love flows and brings order to all things. Allow yourself a break. Allow yourself to need the love from those around you. Allow yourself to give up the control you think you had and trust that tomorrow will bring you what you need. To anyone who is on a messy journey, I send you prayers of renewed strength, hope, and love.