Messy Is Good

It’s been a messy year-plus, and it’s still messy. The whole world feels messy. I could do with some order right about now.

I’m guessing we all could.

I don’t mean total order. A balance of mess and order is what I’m looking for. I say this because as artist and writer I require messy. Revel in it sometimes. It’s a necessary part of my creative process; all my drawing and writing begins in mess.

My childhood and personality gave me a love of order along with a desire for messy. I grew up in a home that contained both. Mom preferred order, but running a household that included three children was much cause for mess and occasional outright chaos.

Mom wisely allowed mess to have its place, until guests were expected. Then we all—Dad included—received our marching orders. Each of us went around the house, picking up what was ours and putting it away where it belonged.

Mess was apparently our private family thing, not to be revealed to others, or maybe not to be inflicted on others.

I’ve watched the mess and chaos of the covid months.

Too much mess, I heard myself say repeatedly.

Don’t like it. Still don’t like it.

But.

I kept reminding myself what an elder mentor artist told me.

Chaos opens a space.

I listened to this advice, for advice it was, and learned to allow myself to sit quietly, listen and observe, while mess and chaos whirled around.

I learned I could be a still point, the quiet eye in the hurricane.

I learned chaos and mess threw things together in ways I’d never thought of, and offered new connections, understandings, possibilities for drawing and writing and life.

This past year-plus I’ve had to talk myself into being the still point a lot. Talk myself into walking through the mess, allowing mess to be what it was. Talk myself into becoming quiet, listen and observe what possibilities were whirling around me. Catch them, use them, learn from them.

What I learned was a relearning and focusing.

Love.

Choose love. Repeatedly if necessary, and necessary it was and is.

Be love.

See love.

Accept love when it is offered me, for acceptance is a gift (a relief, a soothing, a sharing, a wholeness) both to myself and the other. I see you, I see me, I see the love you offer. Thank you. Thank you.

Love is the oldest of the old things, the base on which I stand, the one substance of which the whole of me, and the whole of life, is made. Even when I forget what I am, love remains.

I see you in the midst of the mess and chaos.

I see the love of which you are made and the love you hold.

I wish for you to see yourself as I see you—all love.

You shine bright in the midst of the mess of life, and I am glad of your light.

Everything Matters

A few months ago I listened to a webcast.  The speaker compared life’s experiences to climbing a ladder.

“Every rung is important,” he said, “Every rung is equal.”

At first, the idea of “everything matters equally” felt paralyzing.  Taking even the simplest of actions could be life-or-death in a world where all is so completely important. I might do it wrong.

Then I heard the words differently.

Everything in life has equal meaning. 

At first, this didn’t seem logical.  Holding a door open for someone and saving someone’s life has equal meaning? 

Yes, it does. 

Last Fall I was deep in grief over the deaths of my Dad and my cousin.  The feelings came and went, unpredictable tides that left me feeling helpless and lost.  On a day when things were especially colourless and I desperately needed to feel better, I took myself to the library.

As I walked towards the door, it swung open and someone came out.  Their arms were loaded with books, a balancing act, but when they saw me they paused and waited, holding the door open wide.  They looked me in the eyes and smiled.  I thanked them and walked through. 

Holding the door open for someone and smiling, a momentary gesture frequently repeated, nothing really in the larger movements of life. Except this someone, a stranger, smiled for me as if we knew and loved each other well.

That brief action was pure kindness, a connection that gave me light and space and breath.  I was offered a moment of love that buoyed me for the rest of the day.

I don’t know what happens as my actions and choices ripple outwards.  I don’t know who I affect every day in my life.

I do know I want my life’s touch to be as kind and loving as the gift I received that day.

If everything is important and equal, if everything has meaning, I choose to do my days with kindness and love for the people around me and for myself.