Embrace the Messy

Thank you to Vicki Werling, Life Coach, and Trainer Extraordinaire, for this contribution!

With August behind us, I’m reminded that the end of summer is drawing near. A change in seasons is heading our way, and I couldn’t be more excited! I love the crisp fall morning air, the changing colors of the scenery around my home, and replacing my summer clothes with the welcoming warmth of my hoodies and jackets. The change of seasons tends to energize me to clean up, clean out and clear my space for all the exciting things to come with the new season.

When was the last time you cleaned out any of the closets in your home? I’m talking about those closets that are full of things from many years past. Do you have a closet like that? Perhaps it’s not a closet, but the garage or the storage shed. It’s the space that every time you open the door or walk past it, you think to yourself “I’ve got to get all this organized and cleaned up.”

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m going to clean out this closet. Today’s the day!”? Then, once you open the door, you suddenly become overwhelmed at the thought of pulling everything out, sorting it, and making decisions. Do I keep this? Should I donate that?

I’ve been there many times. I usually muster my positive attitude and say to myself, “Let’s do this! It’s time to clean this closet out. I’m ready for something new.” The process begins with taking everything out of the closet, creating piles on the floor, piles on the bed and piles on the dresser. Items fly by me as I pick up momentum and begin pulling things out of the closet with a fury. I am now feeling energized at the mere fact I am taking action and doing something with this space. It feels refreshing to clear everything out, to bring it all out in the open so I can get a really good look at it. Then that moment hits! The closet is empty, and there’s not a bare spot of floor around me. I am surrounded with all this stuff, and the mess I created and allowed to fill my space.

Then the justification statements start. “I’ll wear this again once I lose some more weight” or “This was really expensive. I should keep it”, and of course, “Oh my, what was I thinking when I bought this?” This series of thoughts is soon followed by the guilt – the self-judgement for buying all this stuff and not using it or outgrowing it. Seriously, this amount of stuff could have easily paid for a small vacation to somewhere really nice!

Now, I’m sitting on the floor, surrounded by everything I have just pulled out of my closet. It’s almost smothering me. Maybe I’ll just stuff it all back into the closet. It’s really not that bad. There’s some good stuff here.

Does any of this sound familiar? What if it’s not a closet, but rather, a relationship? Are there relationships in your life that are still full of past experiences and stuff that may no longer “fit” or align with what you need or want today? What if the stuff that gets to be cleaned out isn’t tangible or wearable but emotional and meaningful?

Creating the time and making the commitment to clear out the “closet”, allows me to be vulnerable and real in order to ultimately create possibilities for something new, and potentially, better. When I’m surrounded by the mess, and it’s out, I can address it. The urge may be to quickly put it all back, or box it up, so I can be done with it. What I’ve recognized, though, is when I embrace the messy, embrace the uncomfortable chaos in the moment and simply BE with it, I gain a better clarity around what I would like to create moving forward. This awareness creates space for new possibilities, space to grow and expand into something even better, or simply, space to breathe and enjoy openness.

It’s important to remember, throughout the process of clearing, cleaning and releasing, that you must remain kind and loving to yourself and the entire situation. It’s a process. Allow the time to be with the mess, and move through the mess knowing you deserve a new outcome. It is an opportunity to be very deliberate and purposeful around what you choose to keep, what stays and what deserves to be let go and recycled or released all together. Embracing the messy is where our being human really shines. It’s vulnerable and scary at times, but it is where the greatest opportunity for new possibilities exist.

When was the last time you embraced the messy?