I listened to About Progress Podcast's episode with singer/songwriter Cori Connors, How Embracing "The Mess" Leads to More Creativity. Connors explains how her mother instilled creativity in her as a child. The best thing she did was "free" her. Meaning, she allowed her to be creative--even if that meant coloring off the paper, spelling words wrong, and making big messes. This simple gesture of her mother has allowed Conners to be accepting of her emotional messes, too.
This link between the physical and the mental/spiritual side of Connors' mess is not just applicable to her. We all have that link. If we can treat our physical messes with honor and respect, we can also treat our emotional, spiritual and not-so physical messes the same way. And that may be one of the very best gifts creativity has to offer us--resilience. So how do we accomplish that in our homes?
As a very good mess-maker and mess-allower, I have thought a lot about how to achieve balance and order in a home while embracing the mess at the same time. If you want to let loose and allow messes, but don't know how, or if you are a mess-maker and are wondering how to find more joy in being orderly, here's what I suggest. I can't wait to follow my own advice on these!
HOW TO ALLOW MESSES
Be in the moment. If your child is making a mess, stop thinking about the near future when you will be cleaning up the mess. Focus on your child. What inspiration is he/she receiving? Creativity is amazing to watch. Don't be judgmental of your child's work. Try to stay out of it as much as possible.
Set limits ahead of time. Dedicate a space--wether it's a back patio, bedroom, closet or a corner of your kitchen. Allow creative messes to live there. You can also set a time-limit. Set a certain time of day or a certain about amount of time for when your creative space is open for business.
Celebrate success. Once your child has created something, celebrate it. Ask your child to explain their process, their thoughts, what inspired them. Find 1,000 things why it's amazing and have a spot you can put a few of your favorite creations on display. If it fits in an envelope, mail it to a grandparent or friend out of state (see you can even sneak in a bit of decluttering/cleaning!). You are also worth celebrating--if it is normally hard for you to embrace the mess--celebrate that you were able to do it! Be grateful for your ability to be flexible in that particular moment--even if it was just a little bit flexible--change is always hard work, and encouraging yourself is very important.
HOW TO RESTORE ORDER
Again, start by being in the moment! When it is time to clean, be in the moment. Don't be wishing you were doing something more fun, or judging yourself for allowing the mess to get so bad. Be grateful for yourself for cleaning the mess--even a small amount--and don't be discouraged when the mess takes much longer to clean up than it did to make. Us creative mess-makers can be really hard on ourselves when we start comparing our creative zones to the perfect pictures of others' homes. Stop it right now.
You too, may also want to set some limits. Keep your creative messes to a certain part of your home, a certain time of day, or a certain amount of minutes/hours. Also, schedule a time for clean-up. Order is not our cup of tea--but it is still necessary. A creative space needs to be cared for if we want it to last. I find my kids are most inspired when they have a clean space to start with and that gives me motivation to clean my art space.
If you have any ideas of how to maintain ballance and embrace creativity, please leave them in the comments or join visit our FB or Instagram page. AND, foor more talk about creativity and making messes, and all the reasons to let loose a little, go listen to the podcast and read our blog post from almost one year ago exactly, CELEBRATING AND HONORING THE MESS (part 1).