Yes mess

I am a recovering control-freak. Yep. I’ll just come out and say it. I am a recovering perfectionist. And I am a mom. Parenting is real life in your face 24/7. And it means you will find yourself in mess on a regular basis. Mess of all kinds. From untidiness around the house to emotional mess. Raising a kid brings out our own inner kid, for better or for worse. The good childhood feelings and the bad. Mess.

Well, mess is inevitable in our lives. I wonder what would happen if we learned to embrace it, if we learned not to see it as something inherently negative in its core. Take my kid. She has this chest of toys which is really one big pandora’s box – it contains all kinds of ‘toysy’ things, such as dolls and doll heads, loose puzzle pieces, bits of crayon, costumes, plastic crowns, teddy bears, you name it, she has it in her chest. She plays freely, combining bits and pieces she finds in this chest. And she’s now in a strong lego phase, so everything goes with lego.

So. Yeah. The living room is oftentimes messy. But you know what? That mess equals creativity on the making, imagination at free play, learning and intelligence, intellectual and emotional, emerging. So many beautiful things may emerge from mess. If you look up the definition of mess, you’ll find things like “a dirty, untidy, or disordered condition,”and “an unpleasant or difficult situation.” Mess carries a negative connotation as a noun. I propose we look beyond the immediate mess of things. I have found that if I move away from my immediate control-freaky response to mess in my life, and just take a breath and observe it for a while, interesting things begin happening. I get to a subtle state of openness to what emerges. And quite often these are beautiful, messy alright, yet beautiful things.

Contemplate what emerges from mess in your life. There may be a gift of uncertainty there waiting to be discovered.



  1. Great picture! We used to have a “bicycle jump” on a muddy trail where the idea was to fly down the steep embankment opposite the jump, dodge the stone monument as you crossed the 5 street intersection without losing momentum and race up the jump “catching air” at the very top while avoiding the huge tree that somehow came to be growing right in the middle of the track.

    Finding a way to make things work seems like something we need to do. This article is really sad. The people in it have lost, what is it? seeing potential? To them, Julia’s toy box would be a box of broken things.
    Chabuduo! Close enough …
    Your balcony fell off? Chabuduo. Vaccines are overheated? Chabuduo. How China became the land of disastrous corner-cutting

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminds me of my experience of moving to the deep south after growing up in a city in central Virginia. I was initially frustrated with the slow pace of life, but when I began to embrace it as my way of life, things became so much calmer. I started to wonder why people were in such a hurry, to blast a car horn for being delayed a fraction of a second on the road. Also, when I worked as a psychologist, I started out as a teen counselor at a wilderness school. I had thought that I would suffer without modern technology and having to do everything by hand and living “out in the elements” of extreme cold and heat. It was actually really fun and a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively. There was something liberating about not having a computer or dishwasher or supermarket. Standing back to look at the log house that I built with hand tools was the most satisfaction I’ve ever felt even to this day.

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