Tolerating mess

Yesterday a friend popped over, and she said she didn’t know how we could be bothered with the mess the dogs make…..now admittedly our home wasn’t looking at its best….we had been for a long 2 hour beach walk and our three dogs had brough back generous helpings of sand to attempt to recreate the beach in our front room…however it got me thinking about how differently we all approach mess.

Willows sand puddle

In my mind mess usually follows on from having had some fun, having lived a little, and the only way to avoid mess would seem to be not to live much. So we could avoid walking the dogs on the beach, and this would save us the beach reconstructions which inevitably follow….but we all love beach walks, and the dogs make it more fun…always. The other option would be to avoid owning dogs, but I’m afraid that I just can’t imagine such a life, and how much less fun it would be. A third option might be to shave the dogs, but that would just be wrong on so many levels. So tolerating the mess seems the only viable option for me.

To be honest I don’t usually give the mess, which tumbles, with as much certainty and regularity as the earth rotates around the sun, from the dogs coats in generous scatterings across the house, much thought. Regular hoovering sorts it out, and it’s just a part of life, like eating and breathing. But my friends comment has me thinking that not everyone is like me….probably safer for the world that way….and that perhaps some people avoid situations and circumstance specifically because of the mess generated. I do know somebody who doesn’t have kids, because of the mess they would make of her beautiful home. This seems so sad to me, as she is missing out on the joy and wonder of opening her life to share its creativity with another, whether that’s a child or a dog…or perhaps just another person….but we are all different and we make different choices.

I know somebody else who hates trees, because all they make him think of are the leaves which he will certainly have to sweep up come Autumn. So it seems that some peoples thoughts inevitably turn to the future and to the work of cleaning up which might be generated by objects or events. When I think of throwing a party I’m thinking about the fun and laughter, the drinks and the stories, the food and the memories…..I guess somebody else might think of the mess that will have been generated, and the effort of tidying up. I took this photo after celebrating a rather large birthday in my home a few years ago, and I took it because it made me smile when I came down in the morning and saw the debris of the fun we had all shared the night before…..

The surest way to avoid mess would seem to be to live alone, and to avoid change and the experiences which life is just waiting to throw our way. It also feels to me that creativity and mess are intricately linked….to create anything you need to make a mess. Just think of baking and all the flour dust, of painting and all the splattering, of an open fire and all that ash, of gardening and all that mud….but would I give up any of these things because of the mess? No way!! And now that I’ve noticed this I fully intend to embrace and enjoy the messy bits just as much as the (nearly/possibly) perfect outcome.

Making mess is liberating at some deep level in my soul, precisely because of the fun that goes hand in hand with it. So next time I’m in a messy home it will make me smile more than one which looks as though no one has been there…(usually I feel a little intimidated in a super clean home, and I’m thinking about what this clean and tidy person would make of the mess back at my home)…Life is for living and mess is for making…..and I certainly have a high level of tolerance for mess……so I will embrace it and enjoy 🙂

Now I feel I need to be clear that this doesn’t mean I like my home to be dirty…..I just don’t mind if it’s not perfect. After all life is usually far from perfect, and living life fully usually involves a fair degree of messiness, at all sorts of levels. Perhaps it’s just that I can accept the mess as part of the whole 🙂 More mess means more fun 🙂

Here’s the leftovers of a more recent nights fun…being enjoyed by our Bengal cat….

and here’s a wee poem about lifes mess……

The Whole Mess … Almost

By Gregory Corso

I ran up six flights of stairs
to my small furnished room
opened the window
and began throwing out
those things most important in life
First to go, Truth, squealing like a fink:
“Don’t! I’ll tell awful things about you!”
“Oh yeah? Well, I’ve nothing to hide … OUT!”
Then went God, glowering & whimpering in amazement:
“It’s not my fault! I’m not the cause of it all!” “OUT!”
Then Love, cooing bribes: “You’ll never know impotency!
All the girls on Vogue covers, all yours!”
I pushed her fat ass out and screamed:
“You always end up a bummer!”
I picked up Faith Hope Charity
all three clinging together:
“Without us you’ll surely die!”
“With you I’m going nuts! Goodbye!”
Then Beauty … ah, Beauty—
As I led her to the window
I told her: “You I loved best in life
… but you’re a killer; Beauty kills!”
Not really meaning to drop her
I immediately ran downstairs
getting there just in time to catch her
“You saved me!” she cried
I put her down and told her: “Move on.”
Went back up those six flights
went to the money
there was no money to throw out.
The only thing left in the room was Death
hiding beneath the kitchen sink:
“I’m not real!” It cried
“I’m just a rumor spread by life … ”
Laughing I threw it out, kitchen sink and all
and suddenly realized Humor
was all that was left—
All I could do with Humor was to say:
“Out the window with the window!”
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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
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4 Responses to Tolerating mess

  1. I started reading your post and totally agreeing with you, when i got to the picture where your belgan cat is taking a nap on the sofa…. and i forgot all about the mess. I don’t care, i want to take a nap in that sofa too, asap! And i want to take that nap hugging that cat!!!!

  2. fostrickson says:

    Great pictures! I find that when you have pets your house is messy no matter what. It’s just one of those things. I have learned to give in to it and to do what I can when I have time to. There are so many better things to do than cleaning.

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