ROOTS AND MESSES
Some thoughts on cleaning up our existence
Once upon a time, there was a wild woman. The wild woman was in a season of finding her way back to her soul. She was beginning to understand the necessity and exhaustion of solitude, which meant a lot of hiking. One Sunday morning, she was out hiking in one of her favorite spots. The trails led to the beach so it was a great spot for kids. It seemed to provide the incentive that modern kids need to wander through the woods, which I guess is something other than aimlessly wandering through the woods.
This Sunday morning, as she was nearing the end of the trail, a family with young kids was just getting started. The little girl, probably about 6 years old, tripped on a root in the trail. The mom asked if she was okay. The girl responded, "They should have cleaned this place up." The mom responded, "Honey, it's nature."
Oh, life lessons.
This hit me so hard as a 30 year old woman girl trying to figure out this beautiful mess of nature. A part of me still relates to the 6 year old girl with neatly combed hair, a dress, and fancy shoes, trying to keep it all together navigating this messy human experience.
I trip on metaphorical roots all the time. Most of the time now, however, I think, "I should have really cleaned this up," because eventually we realize that the mess exists not only outside of us but also within us.
Once we realize that, we have some options. The most common options are to ignore it and pretend that the mess doesn't exist, blame ourselves, blame others, or some combination. My personal favorite is to blame myself for not only my mess but also everyone else's mess and nature's mess and then try to control the fuck out of it. "If I can just clean this up..." My mind argues, fighting to box up emotions, control all desires and passions and feelings, make everyone else happy, while keeping all the external stuff nearly organized, manipulated, and controlled. "No one is going to trip on my roots because I don't have roots," I ignorantly thought, but then somehow, people kept tripping on my roots. I kept finding more messes both internally and externally.
Over time and after many root disasters, I found a new option for the mess of nature, to honestly engage it.
I sought ways, found ways, and created ways to be in the mess, to rest in the tension, to trip and keep going, to be curious rather than afraid, to be okay, to explore, and to come alive.
We desperately need people who are alive.
There's nothing wrong with dresses, fancy shoes, and perfect hair but let's stop pretending that those things are the whole story.
Maybe if roots and tripping can become an acceptable part of the story, we can start talking about better ways to get back up and keep going. We can find ways to be more alive and connected. Maybe we could even start talking about how a lot of the mess isn't actually a mess after all but a beautiful part of the story.
Photo by Kyle Eilefson via Unsplash: https://unsplash.com/@kylellefson