The Irony of Chaos

I have a confession to make.  I'm disorganized.  

I work hard at hiding my chaos from the viewing public.  It's there to see, of course -  the haphazard receipts in my purse, the lack of coherency in my closet, the socks (and more) under the bed.  Even as I have tried to reduce and simplify to get a handle on the disorder,  I admit none of it comes naturally.

I cannot tell you how it was to own and operate a five star B&B and keep this part of me squirreled away indefinitely from the viewing public.  It's one thing to start each working day at point zero and bring everything to a high standard.  It's an entirely different thing to start at point minus twenty and do the same thing.  It ate up a lot of my life force to do that.  More than I care to think about. 

I am not going to sit here and say I didn't enjoy it.  I enjoyed a great deal of it.  But I spent too much time fussing about all the things that were not, in my mind's eye, perfect. To complicate things, the property was 400 years old.  If there's something that's never going to be perfect, it's a 400 year old stone house.

I have often considered the irony of that. 

Why people really came to our B&B.   

Why people really came to our B&B.   

I missed, in those days, the big glaring elephant in the room.  And the elephant knew this:  People were not coming to our B&B for perfection.  They were coming there because of us, our story, and what we had created.  And the warm, inviting atmosphere came, in large part, from my sense of chaos and willingness to throw things together in such a way that they felt comfortable but not planned. They were coming for the creative energy on our little hill in the wine country. 

The part of me that shames me was actually responsible for creating the very thing people loved.  It wasn't perfection they were looking for after all; it was rather the magic that came from whirling creativity that expresses itself on occasion as a hot mess.

 Now, all these years later, I consider the ultimate irony in that and feel grateful for it.

I learned from this.  Changing my basic nature is not going to happen. And I find that I no longer want to. I am accepting that there is only so much order I can demand of myself without being self-destructive. And while I'm pretty sure I'll never completely get away from the small voice demanding some kind of unattainable perfection, I will learn to hush her as I choose my paints and clay and messy sock draw over the dust rag and Swiffer one more time. 

Aging 1

Life is so unreasonably fascinating. 

No matter how hard we try to bend and shape it into a form that works more conveniently, it follows its own formidible, self-determined path.  Doors open; doors snap shut.  Age takes us, uncannily, by surprise.  I suppose that's the vanity in us humans.  We see ourselves in mirrors and our eyes correct what photos cannot deny.  We find out that wrinkles don't hurt, even when they appear in multitude.  We become softer.  We look, well, more vulnerable.  The edges are more rounded - worn down by time and experience - sometimes gently and sometimes with a harshness like a sandstorm on a piece of soapstone.  

I get tired, so exhausted that I can't really think.  My brain hurts. It's part of being 58 and having juggled too many balls for too long.  It seems the only solution I can find for dropping balls is to find new ones - new, more complicated, shiny ones. 

Because I'm still so damned interested in just about everything I do.  I love thinking, engaging, meeting new people, discussing, trying new ways of creating art or working on a start up or designing a house.   I love all of it so much.  I think, much more than a passion for one thing, curiousity about many things has helped me negotiate a complicated and sometimes precarious path. Sometimes my energy level can't keep up with my curiousity.  That's when my brain hurts. 

I'm lucky.  I've done many things that have thoroughly interested me.  I've taken risks and plunged into very diverse lifestyles in different countries doing different things. I became a student who never stops learning. The same things that taught me wild and beautiful lessons have also  flooded me with anxiety and pain.  They've pushed me over limits I never thought I would supercede. I've faced enormous fears that I fully believed were not survivable and survived. These are the lessons of this path that I was meant to learn. 

As hard as it's been at times, and it's been ridiculously hard, I never want it to stop, because it's absolutely magical.

When we shut out what naturally sparks us, we kill off pieces of ourselves.  And as we age, that's dangerous.  Because engaging with our own spirit, our own nature, however insanely difficult that might be, is what this aging process is to meant be about.  Pulling back will happen naturally as aging moves into out-of-life transition - but until then, engaging is something that keeps us in expansion.  

When I look around at people older than myself, I am most touched by those who continue to engage with the things they love right up until they can't.  People for whom the word "retirement" doesn't really exist. Grandfathers who help their granddaughters in the vineyards.  Older artists and scientists who still read, create, and challenge their own set of beliefs. People who know they don't have all the answers and allow for input and change. People not permanently stuck in their own ideas of religion or dogma or ideology. These are the people who move me the most and who I want to emulate as I advance in age. 

I know this means I'll have to continue to take risks and continue to make mistakes.  Those things have been scary enough up to this point - I am quite sure they will continue to terrify me as the years go by.  But the alternative is to contract and whither.   For whatever it's worth, I don't think that's an option for me.  Not as long as I have the strength to fight on. 

I will, however, allow for more naps.  I will definitely do that.