It's OK. Go ahead and be messy.

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  • I'm the type of person who buys more toothpaste when I still have a quarter of a tube left.
  • I've never run out of gas in my car. Ever.  
  • I've been known to quadruple check the spelling and grammar of an email or text before sending it (no matter who it's to, even my best friends).
  • I'm constantly making sure there's nothing in my teeth.
  • Before I open my mouth to sing, there's this millisecond of dread that it's going to sound terrible. Every single time.
  • I'm afraid to share my creations.
  • I get wound up about stuff pretty regularly.
  • I'm tired a lot.

Any of this sound familiar?

In the name of pragmatism I find myself worrying about stuff. It’s this trick the mind plays. I get lured in by the idea of being prepared and “doing a good job”, then the next thing I know I’m fretting over the tiny details of a sentence structure, obsessing over my bank account, or wondering whether the way I laughed at a joke during a tea meetup sounded weird and made the other person uncomfortable.

I lose sleep over this stuff.

I get in my own way because I want to get it “right” and, deep down, I want to seem like I’ve got it all together. But I’m realizing there's a cost to seeming like I’ve got it all together (and honestly, who am I fooling?) and it's usually my peace of mind. I’m also realizing that the more I fixate on trying to keep it together, the less connected I feel to others and to the stuff that makes life worth living for me. I forget to be joyful and see how wonderful life is, even when it feels messy.

Many wisdom traditions advise us to look to nature for guidance on how to live with more ease. Animals and plants aren’t really worried about keeping it together, they’re just existing fully in the moment they inhabit. A dog could care less how ridiculous it looks rolling around in the grass, prancing through a dog park or barking at a squirrel. Trees don’t complain when the season shifts and it’s time to shed their leaves. In the proper conditions, a tomato plant will produce more fruit than a person knows what to do with, and it certainly doesn’t care how the fruit looks, or if it’s inconveniencing anyone.

It’s just doing its thing.

Whether we care to admit it or not, we humans are animals too. And just like animals, we are cyclical creatures who have seasons of birth, growth and death. The big difference between us and plants and animals is our ability to reflect on stuff and pass judgments. We get attached to outcomes and worry about things. It’s said that these attachments are what cause suffering.

So what if we took a page out of nature’s book and allowed ourselves to be in whatever season we’re in? What if we put more effort into letting ourselves be who we are, rather than what our minds think we should be? I realize this can seem like a tall order, especially when in the throws of paying bills, meeting deadlines, showing up to relationships and other “adulting” requirements. But what if it wasn’t so much about doing anything differently, but just seeing things differently?

Nature is inherently abundant and wise. It knows when to rest, when to produce and when it’s time for things to get messy and break down. And since we are a part of this intelligent system, we too are abundant and wise. We have instincts that guide us in the direction that’s going to help us be the fullest versions of ourselves. The trick is to stay tuned in to those instincts and allow the process to happen.

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So if you’re feeling a bit messy or tired or out of sorts (like I have lately), it’s OK. It’s probably just the season you’re in. See if you can loosen your grip a bit and allow whatever process you’re in to unfold. I promise you will see fruits at just the right time.

 

**If you're looking for tools to help you loosen that grip, contact me here to see if working together might help.**

Jennifer Noble