messy happiness + honest writing

Sunday is a deep cleaning day at our house. Usually by Monday Sunday night, there are already pockets of clutter here and there – the effects of having kids: a toy here, a sock there, crayons on the table. A cup left on the counter. I find myself constantly reminding everyone to pick up after themselves over and over. I get tired of hearing myself talk. But when the house is messy, I feel like I’m failing in some way, like I’m letting things fall apart. Never mind that my children are safe and loved and happy. All I can see in those moments is the clutter, mocking me, despite my efforts to sweep it all away.

But when I’m feeling more centered, I look at the bits of clutter here and there as signs of life. Love lives here. Children live here. And we are blessed. Why should a couple of misplaced things cause me distress?

We can also look at the bigger picture of life this way.

We see pockets of mess in our lives and we think, “This is not supposed to be this way. Every time I clean up one problem, I find another.” When life doesn’t match our idyllic, airbrushed picture, we think we are doing something wrong or we have bad luck or we look around and think everyone else is better off. We become so focused on our problems that we overlook our blessings.

But when your main concern is being aware and grateful no matter what is going on, you can appreciate life with an open heart. The mess is part of the journey. It’s the dirty work you have to do to grow and expand. It’s the difficult conversations you have to have, battles you have to choose carefully, rejections you have to bounce back from, lessons you have to learn to become your truest self.

We don't have to like the mess, but we do need a certain willingness to go through what we have to go through so we can find the beauty in the mess.

Do you think you could view your problems as opportunities to be more vulnerable and creative with your life?   

A version of this post first appeared on my column over at cocotique.com.   Initially I was talking about embracing your mess as a way to appreciate life and be more content.

But there's another way to look at this when it comes to writing.

Because what it takes to embrace your life is the same thing required to embrace your writing voice --  complete and utter surrender.   Not trying to fit a mold or live up to anyone's expectations.  Just seeing what's there -- the truth of it, the light in it, and the wealth of possibility.

We are taught that shortcomings should be hidden and we shouldn’t admit what we struggle with, but I disagree.  Getting comfortable with my mess has put me in touch with a deeper level of self-expression, creativity and peace.

Everything about you, everything that has happened to you, everything you like, dislike, prefer, attract, repel -- all of it has meaning and can be purposeful if you’re willing to work with it.

How can you translate your beautiful mess into a unique story that gives you purpose and inspires others?   How can you put your complexity to work?  Because as others see you expressing yourself and embracing your humanness, they will feel inspired to do the same.

That’s the kind of world I want to live in and contribute to.  One where people use their strengths to be of service and their weaknesses to develop and build character.  The alternative is hiding all of this and missing out on genuine connection and meaning.

Maybe this shift is what's been missing from your personal writing practice.  

Do you have a passion for writing that is not being fulfilled?  Do you want to build a blog or write something that is truly a reflection of who you are?

Today I'm inviting you to join me for my four-week online  Words That Move writing and self-discovery workshop starting Monday, January 29.   You can get all the details, read reviews and register here.