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I was on a Zoom discussing the topic Entropy, embracing the chaos that leads to work and subsequent output. There is some sciency stuff behind it and what I gleaned was – we need chaos for creativity and innovation. It’s all about the Messy Middle. And it’s how you handle it that counts.
I get frustrated when things get messy, even when I know the outcome will bring organisation and peace.
A friend described it beautifully. It’s like when you move house or even move things around in your house from one room to another. You have to dismantle everything and disturb stuff (disrupt the status quo), and for a time everything is everywhere. And slowly you move one thing after another and put it in a place you like. And when you are done, all is calm once again.
Writing is like that for me. And knowing me and my tendencies for order, I know that in those days, weeks or months of chaos, I have to find other places to order and satisfy that need. So I will clean out the kitchen or the garage, or tidy my desk, or rearrange the apps on my phone.
And you might be thinking, “Isn’t that just another form of hiding? Or a distraction?”.
Well, yes, you do have a point and are right. I think the difference is which way you intend to approach it.
“I am tidying my desk today, to have a uncluttered space so that my creativity can stay messy.”
As opposed to: “I better go tidy that cupboard again as I really don’t want to write today.”
We all have our own version of the Messy Middle and it will include chaos, disruption, conscious incompetence, frustration, questions that pose yet more questions and little in the way of answers, fatigue, The Dip, self-doubt, fear and vulnerability.
The people around us can be unsupportive either through their own fears they imprint on you, the narrative they have in their head or maybe they just don’t know you need support.
Your routines are all off, you’re questioning everything you do, it feels foggy, uncomfortable and most of the outcomes are predictably unpredictable.
How might you slow things down and trust the process?
To trust yourself and your abilities? Because you did once before and you worked it out. And now you have even better skills and knowledge that are aiding you, is it now time for another leap?
And the best way through it?
Community. A safe place for you to say out loud the stories you tell yourself with others and they can reflect it back to you – carefully unpacking it all, picking through the weeds and seeing alternative perspectives.
Because of all that, I have created Gather & Share Digital Campfires and this month’s topic is – THE MESSY MIDDLE.
Gather & Share all began because I believe in bringing people together to reflect on past experiences and how we got through them. And when things get tough, instead of resisting the urge to run and hide, we can find belonging. We can get excited about starting something new in the future and keep going, together.
And I would love for you to join us.
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