The message within the mess — embracing what is calling to be seen and the medicine of the clean-up
No one really likes a mess — least of all when it’s ours. That said, like reading tea leaves at the bottom of a cup — there is much wisdom to be found within the mess. In fact it’s often the map.
Recently, I brought a combustible, not-so-best-self, energy-sucking bomb to the dinner table. Yep, it’s true. I sat down with my family and brought it all with me. I knew it was happening, but I still did it. That train had left the station as they say.
Typically, by the time I sit in my seat, look around, take a deep breath and soak in the goodness of what is at that table — for example, glorious summer light beaming through the windows illuminating everything, a beautiful backyard to gaze out at, an energetic puppy beneath the table nipping at our toes and tossing toys — and of course the faces of those I love most — I pivot and reset. But sometimes even that doesn’t work. My mood doesn’t shift and I hold onto it all like a dog with a bone. Yeah unfortunately, that was me on that particular night.
And you’ve probably heard the saying, that when Momma’s not happy…well, no one is. Run for cover! All joking aside, it’s because we tend to hold it back until we’re ready to explode. Not a great strategy I must admit.
I remember a movie from the late 90’s called Sliding Doors. Now before you rush to look it up…I don’t recall if it was any good, but its premise stuck with me all of these years. It basically demonstrated how one choice, one step could lead to one outcome, one direction — and conversely, another choice…another outcome or direction. The movie cleverly depicted both outcomes — how life would play out based upon what path was chosen. And yes, while that seems so obvious — it’s the accountability piece that we discard when we consciously choose to engage in situations that we know are not going to end well (like my dinner table debacle).
Because here’s the thing — when we bring that to the table, we also risk bringing those we love most down with it. OUCH. Yes, sometimes we can work our way out of these things quickly, but sometimes we bring the others with us. Our energy is powerful, very powerful.
And that night, I’m not proud to say — I brought the table down with me. It can start with a snarky remark and combust from there. Perhaps my mood or vulnerability met that of another and boom. Then you are not only left with cleaning up your own mess, but that which you instigated topped with a generous serving of guilt. Back to the movie…sure, I could’ve chosen another door. Perhaps when I first sat down, I could’ve announced, “I’m in a vile mood…please help — or hide!”
Sometimes we simply need to claim it, name it and invite the people we love in — or spare them.
It’s not fair to expect others to read our minds. The truth is that sometimes we wait until we are almost at the point of no return before we even identify our own source of pain. It all leads back to clear communication with self and others. It’s understanding what is needed in that moment to unravel the emotion…not the family. When we stop scurrying about incessantly trying to stay busy, bypassing issues at hand — and instead simply identify what is unfolding — we can begin to let the pressure release in a much healthier way.
These are crazy times. Nothing is the same and a lot of emotions are bubbling up as a result of it. Some things may remain, others not. Some things may be worth fighting for, others not. But one thing’s for sure: we need to find a way to stay grounded and the key to that is truth — both standing in it and telling it. Allow yourself to feel what is asking to be felt. Resistance will only create the internal pressure cooker that you’ll only be able to keep a lid on for so long.
Don’t let it get ugly unnecessarily…that only compounds the whole ordeal.
For me, I’ve been feeling a great deal of unrest lately; insecurity, resentment, judgment, anger and deep sadness. It’s honestly been a bit surprising. I even recognize a sense of mourning — mourning what was, the past, what may never be again. Being your Best Self doesn’t mean you are immune to the human experience — none of us is immune to this. Beating yourself up because you feel you should know better only piles on unnecessary shame.
But here’s the good news, even if you are like me, and you tend to take the long way home — know that there is great medicine in the cleanup. Our mess is often the map. It guides us to the places we need to go, the things we need to see, the wounds we need to nurture. It reminds us to show up for ourselves and others. It connects us to ourselves and others. It points us back to our true power.
But don’t rush the mess, the process, the pain or any of it. That’s an old trick of mine — the quick clean-up. However, it doesn’t allow for full healing and like me, you’ll likely find yourself back in the same spot somewhere in the not-so distant future again. So, why not instead, allow yourself space, time and feeling. Be bold. Declare things for yourself. Allow yourself to see things differently (these are not just words). And guess what? You may just be surprised…the world around you won’t crumble or stop turning and best yet, you may start to feel expansive decompression throughout your entire being.
And remember to be kind with yourself as you navigate this territory. Think of ways to support this process and growth. In times of uncertainty we need to be held, not admonished. Do that for yourself. Witness what comes up without judgment. This isn’t a routine dental cleaning. Allow it to unfold in whatever amount of time is needed.
Pay attention to the big ways and small in which you drown out the call of your soul; losing yourself in scrolling mindlessly through social media or TV? Staying in perpetual motion? Reaching for unhealthy, ‘comfort food’ choices? Don’t worry, we’re all in this together and have our ways.
I’ve been feeling a great deal of discomfort in many aspects that are calling for a shift. However, I’m not going to allow them to overwhelm or drown me. Instead, I’m trying to trust them — as I somewhat skeptically tiptoe towards new things. Not my comfort zone for sure, but I’m giving it a whirl.
We are being called to navigate everything differently. Trust that you are stronger than you know.
The old ways are no longer serving us. It’s time to shed some old behaviors and skins. What are you ready to heal and discard? Let’s bring that to the table instead!
Yes, our mess is often the map…don’t be afraid. Roll up your sleeves and allow the layers of your evolution, expansion and healing to come forth. Your Best Self awaits dear one. And remember, you can always choose again, a new door, a new way, a new feeling.
Have you ever brought your not-so Best Self to the party — gotten in your own way and not been able to stop your own runaway train? Please share your strategies for handling the mess and reading your own map with us in the comments below (the place we can connect in community and hold space for each other).