Recently I read the book titled: MESSY: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford. This book has really opened my eyes to all the ways in which the best intentions for tidiness and order can sometimes have a negative impact. My plan is to look at several sections of the book that directly relate to what I do as a professional organizer over the next few weeks.
I know, first hand, that life is messy. Things do not always happen as planned. I’m a huge fan of planning but quite often the best laid plans simply need to be put aside to let whatever happen. I started my work life as a preschool/primary school teacher. Teachers create lesson plans but many times the lesson can morph away from the planned lesson into something very different but equally beneficial – a unique learning experience. Something you could never have planned for but which just sort of organically happened. Sometimes it’s a wonderful thing and sometimes it’s a hard lesson to learn – not so wonderful. The trick is to let the lesson happen and not to insist that the planned lesson take place. That has been the hardest lesson for me to learn. I usually wanted to bring the discussion back to its original intention. As the years went on and as I gained experience in the classroom I learned to be more flexible, to go with the flow, and to let the alternative lesson happen.
The book, MESSY, addresses this topic in the opening chapter. The author teaches the reader that some of the best performances have happened when the planned circumstances did not come together as the planner had intended. No, I’m not going to give you any specifics – you’ll have to read the book.
What do you do when life gets in the way, when it’s messy and your plan is foiled?
My son and daughter-in-law had planned for their wedding ceremony to be on a lawn over- looking the water. It was a picture – perfect location. The white chairs were set out on the lawn. There was a tent which was beautifully decorated for the dinner and dancing to follow the ceremony. The morning dawned with some wispy clouds. We thought nothing of it. The hairdresser came to give all us women in the bridal party gorgeous hairdos. I noticed it got a little overcast but didn’t pay too much attention. We were having too much fun getting ready for this wedding to happen.
Wouldn’t you know, it started pouring cats and dogs (as the expression goes) about an hour before the ceremony. Our guests were arriving and went straight into the tent. They couldn’t hang out on the lawn as planned.
We didn’t know quite what to do as there really wasn’t room on the dance floor under the tent to set out rows of chairs.
The Rabbi and the Priest suggested that the wedding ceremony take place on the dance floor with the wedding party in a semi-circle. Our guests could gather around. Those who needed to sit could sit at a table.
The rain stopped just as it was time to begin the ceremony. We stuck with our new plan because we thought the rain might start up again.
It was a beautiful ceremony. Made even more intimate because the guests gathered around, forming this almost magical circle around the wedding party.
We never would have felt that closeness out on the lawn with the guests seated in rows of chairs. It would have been lovely but what actually happened was even better.
Yes, it was a little messy and we, the two moms, were a little frantic at first but we let it be and it was better than anything we had planned.
Are you a planner? Do you have trouble going with the flow? Connect with me for support.