The Art of Meditating in Mess

Yesterday I meditated. I’m not going to say it was pretty – because it wasn’t. My husband had just gotten home from a 2 week long work trip and there were bags, laundry, and suitcases splayed about our apartment. And it had also somehow occurred to me it that it would be a great time to infuse this mess with more mess as I decided to clean out the closet of the office/”yoga” room and get rid of the clothes, random golf balls, and other items we no longer need (turns out doing this can be incredibly effective at finding old lost things like my birth certificate buried under a pile of sweaters – who knew?!).

 Anyway, like most folks on a busy morning, I didn’t have a lot of time to clean, organize, meditate, and THEN go about my day. It was do it or don’t. In an effort to walk the walk and practice what I preach, I decided to explore meditating in a room that was a complete and utter mess.  I carefully pushed a pile of clothes and papers aside, rolled out my yoga mat, sat down and took a deep breath.  It wasn’t easy. After closing my eyes for only three breaths I found myself peeking, scanning the room, and feeling like the clothes were not only a physical but an emotional and spiritual obstruction. At that same moment though, another thought flew into my mind, the phrase, “just let it go” Just. Let. It. Go.

What a concept. So I tried to do exactly that. I tried to just let go of the mess, the discomfort, and the anxiety sitting in this messy room brought.  I began to count my breaths, slowly, steadily.  I began to pay attention to the feeling of each breath in the belly, the feeling of breath in the chest, the feeling of breath in the nostrils. And then another funny thing happened, I felt myself begin to smile – I was ENJOYING this. This practice of clearing, calming, despite the busyness the messiness of our daily lives.  It wasn't easy, but it was rewarding.

Life is messy, it’s noisy, it can be crowded, stressful, overscheduled. We are never going to have that perfect room, that perfect 20 minutes, we’re also never going to feel the ability to sit perfectly still without any physical discomforts (my right knee always seems to ache after about 5 minutes of sitting).  But all of that is OK. In fact it’s more than OK, it’s the point. The whole game is to find calm in the crazy. I invite you to try some meditation in the midst of your spring-cleaning endeavors. It might just be the key to unlocking a new perspective and a new mindset for the season.

Joanna Andreae