Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sitting With the Mess

(Kids and I have continued our fairly sick winter. And now I am under-the-weather, again. Ugh. I'm trying to stay positive, but must admit that this sick business is getting old. So, I've been posting here less frequently but hope to be back more once I perform the germ exorcism, scheduled for this evening.)

Lately, I've been thinking very much about a brilliantly simple phrase, shared with me by my dear friend and Life Coach Rita Hyland. "Sometimes, Denise, you just have to sit with the mess." As someone who has always liked nice neat corners, tidy rooms and clean resolutions, when Rita first said this her words bounced off my belief system. it did not compute. Sit with the mess? No way. Figure it out, fix it, clean it and move on.

Luckily, Rita's words permeated and infiltrated my old beliefs. I've shifted, knowing that she's brilliantly correct. In the dark, messy spaces sit nuggets of insight and growth. My friends and I, all churning through different complex parts of our lives, have been chewing on this wisdom. It calms. It fits. It helps. It intuits wisdom to deal with the inevitable mess of life. It gave me permission to sit, get dirty and grow.

*****

I sit, watching, wondering.
Perplexed by the intensity of force of

Dark, surging waters.

Gray.
Muddled.
Pounding.

Shallow eddies crescendo to a delirious, towering walls of water.

Waves pummeling. Water penetrating.


At times, I sense a disembodiment,
watching from afar

But I know am the water; she sits within me.
Feeling each white-capped slice of wave
As an extension of my soul.

I dive in, into myself.
Into the uncertain mess.

I want to know what she knows. What I know.
I don't wish for calm,
placid waters and blue skies.

I don't force the return of tranquility.

I don't paint a sunny day on my salt-water
strewn, disheveled face.

I sit. With the

Angst.
Pain.
Uncertainty.
Sensitivity.
Decades old hurts, now expired.

Possibility creeps in, holding hands with the
faintest rays of the sun, breaking through charcoal clouds.

I sit with the mess. And the power within.
I stop silencing it, and myself. Voices released,

swelling majestically over the briny, gray squalls of the ocean,
flying away with the mist.

(Note: This type of writing is a huge departure from my norm. I'd love to get your input--constructive (really!!) or positive--so I can continue to get better. I'd also like to thank Christa and Alita for they each recently wrote beautiful pieces about the water and their words inspired mine.)

6 comments:

ayala said...

Denise, I enjoyed this. Life is not always tidy and it boils down to sitting in the mess of it all. I like that you ventured into writing that's not your norm. I personally thought it was beautiful. " I sit with the mess. And the power within. I stop silencing it, and myself. Voices released, swelling majestically over the briny, gray squalls of the ocean, flying away with the mist." My input-Beautiful!

Christine said...

It's poignant and wonderful. To be honest I don't think there is such a thing as a right and wrong way to dispel words from your soul. If it feels good, if it helps, then it's right. Did you enjoy writing it?

I love this idea of sitting with the mess. And I also enjoy the idea of digging really deep and exploring the feelings. My therapist was the first to push me to do that, to give rise to the emotions and fully feel them by expressing them. It's an amazing thing to do.

P.S. I am so happy to have found you here too, and I can't wait to reconnect in person again at Kripalu!

Cathy said...

Interesting concept. Sit with the mess. I am going to have to think about this a bit. It runs contrary to my deepest being. But I like it. I am going to think more on this. And I agree with Christine - there is no right or wrong when it comes to writing from your heart. And there shouldn't be...are you sure you're sitting with the mess on this? Or do you want to fix it and make it perfect?

Denise said...

Cathy--Thanks for your thoughts. I too had a hard time with this concept. For me, NOT sitting with the mess manifested in not addressing important emotions. Not good. So now, I try to sit with the mess in my life and accept each phase--light, dark, murky, bright; it's a constant evolution.

In my writing, well, the evolution from safe pieces to those exposing the grittiest parts shows me how much more comfortable I am in the mess (my writing was the last "not sitting with the mess" bastion). As for this post, I think it's perfect as in messily, differently perfect. As in not neat and tidy--perfectly expressing exactly what I needed.

Dana Udall-Weiner said...

Sitting with the mess is so hard, Denise--I relate all too well. Being a mother has jolted me into doing so (messy house, messy diaper, messy feelings), but I still find it challenging.

Your words are gorgeous and poignant. I haven't read your work long enough to know about your more typical style, but I adore this piece. It's amazing how much meaning and feeling can come through carefully selected words, through poetry such as this. I have recently started to try my own hand at poetry, or at less-linear writing. And it feels risky to do so. But the rhythm and trajectory are much more interesting for me to write. And I had that same sense reading your work--it was very engaging.

Christa said...

I love this, Denise. The whole thing. Just gorgeous.

And I am so glad that you are experimenting with different ways to write. Part of giving up perfect is finding new gifts, isn't it?

This is open hearted writing, this loosely written poetry type of thing (as I think of it in my own mind). It isn't easy, there aren't rules, and there is a whole lot of trust involved in putting it out there.

Bravo, and thank you...