A few months after the pandemic started, we decided to get a kitten. Even though my daughter had been asking about it for a while, I was not looking forward to the additional responsibility. I was afraid of the mess the cat would create around the house. And it did. You can imagine the stress and the fights we had during those early days. Fast forward 18 months, and the mess is still happening occasionally, but fortunately, I no longer am stressed about it as I was before. What has changed?
Over the past 18 months, we taught ourselves about taking care of a cat and its behavior; we experimented with different cleaning products and tools that helped us clean up when the mess happened. In addition, we developed processes and practices to reduce the possibility of such an accident.
Surprisingly, this story has a remarkable resemblance to life in general. The more we are afraid of a mess or mistake, the more stressed we feel. However, as we grow older and wiser, we learn that mistakes and messes are integral parts of our lives. As long as we own them and address the consequences, we can learn from them and move forward. During one of my meditation sessions, the teacher said that anxious thoughts will always be there, but we can extend our capacities to hold them lightly and not be driven by them.
Growth is increasing our capacity of handling life’s messes instead of dreading them
As I increased my capacity to handle the mess, I can now see the gift of a furry baby who has rekindled my caring side, which improved my overall well-being. Not having a cat to avoid messy situations would have been a significant loss.
If we resist what we fear, we may lose the posibilites of what could be.
As I reset my expectations of tidiness, I feel more at peace and enjoy the company of a messy family member. So the final learning is,
Accepting what is, clears the space for happiness to emerge.
What resonated with you in this story? What life mess helped you to grow your capacities?