Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life

We must apologize to those of you who have been faithfully reading these articles for the lateness of this one. Between a very busy client load, facilitating a staff retreat earlier this month, and taking a few days off to experience Nature in all her wonder in Rocky Mountain National Park, every one of our "conscious intentions" to get this article posted in time abandoned us. So, thank you all for your patience.

This month's experiences, as described above, serve as a perfect segue into October's topic - the sacred messiness of life (which was also the topic of the staff retreat). By "messiness" we are referring to those events and/or circumstances in our lives that occur in a way that is not exactly congruent with our original vision. (Seems we had plenty of messiness going on in our lives!) When things don't go exactly as planned, we may experience them as being out of order, frustrating, or "messy." Our tendency, typically, is to seek to avoid any "messes" altogether and should they slip past our best laid plans, to exert maximum amounts of control to minimize the impact of the "mess" on our well-ordered lives. Yet if we have lived long enough, we are capable of looking back over our lives and realizing that most of our significant growth has really occurred when life was not following the trajectory we had planned. Tucked inside the "messiness," whether in our personal, professional, or relational contexts of our lives, there are powerful truths to be extracted if we are open and willing to search for them. Ironically, we may be robbing ourselves of the most valuable life lessons that can be released through our "mess" by trying so hard to avoid it.

A better choice, from our perspective, is to wade into the "mess" with our eyes fully open, trusting in our self to seek the lessons contained within so that we might continue to grow and evolve into a healthier, more fully developed human being. By doing so, we are more likely to learn that the "mess" is not as repugnant or dangerous as we originally thought. Although our "messiness" by nature is not particularly comfortable, and is often extremely challenging, we can still learn to embrace it for the value that lies within it. Doing so is not conceding our ideals but is instead opening ourselves up to the potential within us to utilize all of our experiences for growth. Certainly we have our preferences for how we will be challenged and moved forward along our path, but it is empowering to acknowledge that we can embrace the ambiguities, contradictions, and inevitable messiness of life all the while becoming more and more our true selves. That is good news! We do not have to walk each step perfectly, we do not have to have it all figured out, we do not have to fully know where we are going. In the "messiness" that is our lives (a truth for ALL of us), the dualities that comprise our experiences, our living with varying degrees of certainty and uncertainty, insight and ignorance, motivation and apathy, and the planned and unexpected are all lenses through which to see our own complexity and to facilitate our infinite unfolding.

May we all find the courage to remain steadfast in the face of our "messiness," to look for the lesson it offers, to be thankful for the opportunity to facilitate the changes it invites, and to trust in the process within us to move us toward our potential to become.