Life is Messy
It took me the better part of my life to accept that I am a perfectionist. So there it is, on paper for you to read. It took me a long time to admit because I couldn’t see it, I also thought it was wholly uncool. My perfectionism claim however comes with a disclaimer; I am only a perfectionist in the things I care about, and luckily for me the things I care about are consciously, carefully chosen and therefore not large in number. But when I choose to do or care about something, I am purist, perfectionist and then as an added extra; idealist.
Things makes me super easy to be around I’m told ;-)
It also makes me fiercely passionate and excited about the things I care about which also results in me expecting a mega huge amount out of life.
The even more problematic part is that I have successfully found ways to avoid things I cannot perfect or idealize. You’d have to dig a hole into my head, turn yourself into a teeny microscopic camera and tour around my brain to understand the random way I’ve filed things under ‘Perfection Possible’ and ‘ Perfection Not-possible’.
There is for sure no pattern and the filing mostly motivated, like most people by deep rooted fears.
I hate mess.
I don’t like lines that are not straight and cables and chords that aren’t neatly put away.
I’m probably a cleaning session short of an OCD diagnosis. Ok, that’s not funny and it’s also not true. (Kind of)
I like the minimalism movement partly for it’s idealism, mostly for it’s cleanliness and beauty in it’s simplicity
I like a lot of white and space.
I have constructed a life that can easily change direction in roughly 10 minutes.
I got really good at traveling light , never check luggage, can book a flight to anywhere and be there within a day.
I’m never home long enough to really create any mess or accumulate anything really. I eat in restaurants or on the streets and if I do make something at home, my choices are driven by ‘How much mess will this create?’.
I love hotels, exactly because nothing can accumulate there and everything is cleaned and made brand new every day.
The meal is gone, the bed is made, mess is just not my problem.
I’ve also kept my relationships on brand with my ‘Travel light’ philosophy.
I don’t have children; the ultimate mess creating entities on all levels and mostly I thank the stars and all the Gods in the universe for not giving any of my own to me.
Romantic relationships also became something I can leave rather swiftly and I keep my friendships down to a handful of those I don’t have to work too hard for.
All of this has given me a lot of space and a lot of time to work on the things that really do matter to me.
I care about evolution of the individual and I always, sometimes stupidly, believe in the best of people. I almost always see their highest potential and fight , often times too hard to help them see what I see. I believe in raising consciousness and breaking through ideas that are old and oppressive. I use my words in my writing, words in public spaces speaking (used to) and I design programs that all aim to make the world, one person at at a time, a little more conscious, have a little bit more meaning and be a little more happy. All the while, avoiding the messiness of life.
There are two kinds of messy.
Messy in mind and messy in the material world.
Chaos in mind , Chaos in the world.
Like all opposites, chaos and order must exist together.
How I express chaos is through the seeking out of intensity and complexity.
This is expressed largely in my thinking. I love challenging ideas and the term ‘Brave thinker’.
I’m often amazed how fearful people are to simply think.
In my mind there is nothing I am afraid to think,, what can happen? It safely exists in your head? What’s the risk?
Of course, thoughts spill out into life as it does in mine. On a good day, I channel this into work and on a bad day, I cause drama in my life. Move countries, dramatize/idealize relationships, become provocative in conversation in an effort to create intensity where there is none, and generally act like a three year old looking for mischief.
And how I express order is obviously in my obsessively clean, super light living.
BUT, just like anyone else, ‘Corona times’ is changing me.
It’s provided an opportunity for us to really look at ourselves hasn’t it?
A good way of looking at oneself is to ask the question: What lesson are you tired of learning?
You may take some time now to answer this for yourself,, but sit down before you do, it could be dizzyingly eye opening.
In my case, I was simply tired of being somewhat perpetually unsettled.
And without anywhere to go since March, and nowhere really to go in the foreseeable future, I had to make peace with the fact that I was at the home of my own making. Except I hadn’t made much of one.
I threw myself into work, thriving on the chaos of the change that the whole situation brought. This was not the hard part for me.
The hard part came later.
Like now later.
I recognized on some level, but not entirely, that my life was almost too simple.
I was bored, not in the nothing-to-do sense, but I was somewhat psychologically bored. Seeking for the next thing. But with almost all of intensity-creating- options gone, I had to look elsewhere.
Naturally, I got me some kittens.
Not just any kittens; high maintenance demanding Canadian Sphinx kittens.
This was not an adoption process, this was definitely more of a hostile takeover situation (from their side!).
It might sound like a non-event to you, but honestly they are the embodiment of my worst fears.
Needy, dependent, MESSY AF, stinky, wild and irrational creatures that I willfully allowed into my pristine life.
I honestly thought cats came toilet trained , calm and independent ! Isn’t that the whole point of a cat?
I had no idea the amount of work I’d have to do to get my head around this decision.
I thought of giving them alway roughly a day after they arrived.
I was outright depressed for at least a week in total and wondered what possessed me to mess up my life. MESS being the operative word.
My neatly constructed day was now overrun by toilet training, scratching training (they had been taught to run up legs), and washing of spoiled sofa covers and blankets.
I had to throw out my new bean bags and rearrange my entire living room, complete with an enormous and hideous cat tree.
They’ve now been with me for almost 6 weeks and I’ve finally come to terms with why I got them. They are teaching me to surrender to mess and imperfection.
They are teaching me patience and to face the things in life that scared me the most. Basic life stuff. Seeing the meaning in the mundane, putting a lot of my theoretical mindfulness and yoga ideas into practice. I am learning to embrace the messiness of life. I am facing what I have successfully avoided and things well out of my comfort zone.
I’m often called brave (so cute) but only because I just happen to be good at changes that scare a lot of other people, but turns out cooking at home and taking care of animals is something that can completely undo me.
As a result, I feel less inclined to create chaos in my life in a way that would be destructive and keep me in the loop of moving, changing and feeling unsettled.
I’m learning, as we all should, to hold the tension between chaos and order. To walk the proverbial line between the two.
The perfection is still there (poor kittens) but I’m allowing space in my life for more mess and that’s ok.
I’m curious, now that I’m awake to allowing for the messiness of life, about what more will come my way. Experience has taught me that when you open yourself up, when you move out of the comfort, when you choose growth over stuckness that great things become possible.
I am grateful everyday for the teachings I’ve gotten on the path to conscious living. Consciousness is the safety net and it’s through the practices of yoga and meditation that I am able to embrace the messiness of life and still be happy AF about it. It’s not without work, but it is true; and in a world with so much uncertainty, it feels pretty cool to have one thing that’s just simply true.
How do you walk the line between chaos and mess?
Can you accept that life is messy and still be happy?
I’d love to hear from you and how you do it.
PS, Jean Paul and Simone are doing fine. They now know how to use the toilet which made me super proud. We’re getting to some level of mutual respect and understanding and just like me, they’re not for everyone, but I think they’re pretty cool.