We sometimes want life to work out neatly- things to go exactly as we've planned, no glitches, smooth sailing... Only rarely has that been my experience. We even come into this world with a fair bit of - messy. Generally it's best to have contingency plans, so if things get messy we don't become too stuck in the muck to get ourselves out.
OK- this is me. I have a tendency to get stuck, and then have to dig myself out. My contingency plans only take me as far as I have thought them through.... which is to say, not very far. Because, of course, everything is going to happen exactly as I envisioned it...

But,
Life is messy. 
I am continually reminded of this, both in my work and private lives. I am reminded that getting messy, playing in the dirt is just fine. At least for a little while. The treasures are revealed when we wash up at the end of it all, and buff the jewels we have grasped. I know this is similar to my thoughts on chaos theory, and, it's different. This took on a whole new experiential- image for me, as I watched the processes of the young individuals with whom I am working. 
A recent occurrence in my work place brought me back to these thoughts. A young staff member remarked that we  (clients and staff) "had destroyed your art room, with all the mess". My response was: it's alright- art is messy. Then after a brief pause, I added: LIFE IS MESSY. The people in the room tittered, in a relieved sort of way, and some banter flew about, as the idea settled in with all present. Immediately after, a young person who had been displeased with a canvas that she was working on, decided to cover it in a layer of colour, and then wrote "LIFE IS MESSY". She gave me that piece to keep in the art room, as a reminder to all that enter... It's alright- get dirty. 

To her I dedicate a quote I found: 
For the girls with messy hair and thirsty hearts.

(And, of course, this is for the boys too- I really have known more boys with messy hair than girls.)
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We tame the chaos through our creativity. It may be better to say that we give form to the chaos. Chaos and messy aren't really the same. Chaos is the myriad of thoughts, ideas, events and experiences that we are charged with making sense of. Messy is the path. 
Messy is the operational method of knowing, understanding, making sense out of... Messy is the exploration of the sensations, the feelings and the ideas. 
And art, is the manner in which we can give our feelings actual shape and colour. Art is the method that I use, and a metaphor for our lives: art is messy/ LIFE IS MESSY.

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Is this chaos or messy? I would answer that out of the chaos I was feeling after an intense art therapy session with a group at work, I unleashed the feelings that were swirling within. They found their way to a tiny canvas and were contained there- for all to see. When I look at this I see flow, transformation, cracks- where the light gets through. 

I have a personal metaphor for this that I see in my home environment. I can live in chaos until it intrudes, causing mayhem. Then I wade into the fray, sometimes I need rubber gloves, and when it's all done- even my bathrooms are sparkling. I quell the chaos by getting good and messy, dirty- and then, as I have already alluded to, there is a sense of calm in me and around me. It has not gone unnoticed, by me and by people around me, that sometimes I need to reign in my surroundings before I can attend to the emotions and sensations that are bubbling beneath the surface. When I have tidied my environment, I will, at times, seen things from a different perspective. I may have added a twist to a curtain, moved pillows to a new locations, or otherwise altered things- just a bit- so they look different or even new. 
This is, again, just like chaos theory- in the falling apart, and re- assembly, new and higher order material is formed. 
Life resembles art? Art is life?

The piece I am adding here, is the HOW.
Get MESSY!

PictureAcrylic /melted crayon on wood
This is nothing particularly new for me. I have already attested that I have done it in my life, in my home (even before I was fully cognizant of how it works for me), to settle myself, and allow for a different perspective on things. NOW I get to choose my method (madness to my method?). I can choose art media that feels the most right for what I am processing. I almost always tell the people with whom I am working- that I don't really feel like I am art making unless I get dirty. Hmmm... that can be metaphorical too: I can get my hands dirty, wear clothes that are embellished with paint splatter, OR I can work on subject matter that feels messy and dirty. 
Oh- so many wonderful ways to play.

I notice that lately, I have made many art pieces that are flowing, maybe even oozing or bubbling. But they have defined edges/ borders and boundaries. This seems to be about my need to maintain boundaries in my life- both work and play, so the ooze has a place to bubble and form, and still not to leak and catch me unaware.

This was SOOOOO messy. 
And SOOOOO much fun.
While working with a group of young people, we decided that our final group piece would be a piñata of sorts.
A lot of the prep and piecing fell to me, as the group members were still involved with other art making to finish their pieces before the end of the session. People rotated in and out of sticking their hands into the gooey vat of glue and paper to help create the piñata. And as luck would have it, we all laughed when we saw the shape our piñata was taking, as the balloon that was giving it shape started to fizzle, leaving us with a deformed globe to work with. 
There you have it- best made plans and all... LIFE IS MESSY. 
Our group work proved the premise we had been working with. Could art imitate life any better than that?
After plastering the outside with stories, and words that represented what we wanted to leave behind, we took the finished product (:-}) outside and smashed it with gusto, until the inside yielded our representation of the 'sweetness in life'.
I LOVE art therapy.

As this group said their farewells for a bit, I invited some of the other therapists into the art room to experience some art making. 
My piece was revealing for me. I felt that I freed a demon that has been living with me for most of my life. It would be wrong to say that it is now free- rather that I am beginning to be free of it. 
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From my current vantage point, this particular monster is exactly where it should be- OUTSIDE of me, contained in a mess of watercolour mesh. 


LIFE IS MESSY-
Pass it on. 

As always, feel free to comment in the section provided, message me or otherwise let me know your thoughts.

Namaste.