The Messy Middle: Embracing Order in Chaos

Woman's face covered in messy rainbow paint.
Image courtesy of whitedaemon on Pixabay

Ever been in the messy middle?

When we’re on the brink of a quantum leap, it can feel like a fast-hitting tornado. We’re about to reach the next level of comprehension and understanding.

This is the time when the pieces are all over the place, you haven’t eaten in hours and you can’t think straight — because your head is brimming with ideas.

The messy middle might feel unpredictable, but it’s a magical place to be.

All your actions have compounded to bring you to this part of the process. This is where it really gets good.

The disorganized, frazzled, and incredibly delicious messy middle is where we find our true grit, determination, truthful creativity, and stamina.

I’ll be honest: I like the feeling of completion. It feels great to step back and say, “Hey! Look what I made! I did that!” I’ve reminded myself of this: completion is just the culmination of a lot of messy middles.

As a former perfectionist, the messy middle was not always my favorite part of the journey. I resented how out of sorts it felt, especially because I am more comfortable (and concentrated) when things are neatly tied up in a bow.

But creativity screams for us to trust the process because it’s usually taking us where we least expect to go, which is what makes it so fun, right?

As we create something new, our conditioning can peek its head around the corner and get curious about what we’re doing. It likes to spy. It doesn’t want to feel left out.

Our learned neurological programs get upset when we start playing around with our paints or caressing the keys of our old piano.

As creators, we can train ourselves to follow our intuition and reprogram our brains to more resonant beliefs, thoughts, and perspectives.

The messy middle can trigger our survival emotions, especially if we’re counting on our creation to earn us money or improve our lives.

When you find yourself struggling to keep up the passion without having a clear map of where you’re headed, try the four actions I’ve listed below.

May they be a compass until the fog lifts.

Below are four actions to take when you’re in the messy middle. May they help quell any doubts, fears, overwhelm, or overthinking:

1. Remind yourself of your evolution.

Being in the messy middle is an indicator you started something new in the first place. Go you!

When we decide to level up, learn something new, or let go of something from the past, we are choosing a courageous path. Honor this, please.

When we feel our head exploding from all the new stimuli being ingested, we have to remember how awesome that is — our head is exploding because we are more knowledgeable now.

New neurons are firing and wiring together. Our brain is learning to look for new information and new perspectives. Our filter is becoming wider. We are growing new brain matter and strengthening our memory, emotional capacity, and resources to solve problems.

That’s pretty cool, right?

2. Take an inventory of your progress and celebrate it.

It can feel like a long way from the finish line if we keep looking at the finish line.

We’ve all been conditioned to focus on the completion rather than the journey, especially in the West where accomplishments and credentials replace our value and worth as human beings.

But here’s the thing: this is your life going by. Right now as you read this, minutes tick away you can’t get back, no matter how beautiful, rich, or influential you are.

So, keeping all attention on the finish line robs you of your experience and journey.

The journey is delicious, too. It’s filled with miracles, synchronicities, and coincidences. All this supports what we are trying to accomplish and allows us to meet ourselves along the way.

Because we are always creating a more resonant version of ourselves, we decide to take more risks.

Write down all the progress you’ve made and celebrate it.

Put your hand on your heart and “take in the good” as Dr. Rick Hanson says. Savor the feeling of accomplishment, more knowledge, deep self-admiration, and choosing yourself. Let that feeling sink into your bones, your brain, and your solar plexus chakra.

Ahhh, it feels so good, doesn’t it?

3. Call on your inner wisdom and hand over the outcome to the universe.

Nothing will look like we think it will when we first start something. There will be endless changes, evolutions, and surprises along the way.

The more we release our grip on what we want it to look like (or think it should look like), the more magic comes in.

We will know what to do next if we go inward and listen. There is a lot of noise about what is ‘right,’ ‘best,’ or ‘correct.’

Our inner wisdom knows best, even if it doesn’t make logical sense or go in a logical order (I am personally working on this!).

There is a divine intelligence working in everything we do, and it wants our fulfillment. Hand over your idea of the outcome to the bigger picture, and I promise, you will be taken care of in ways you can’t possibly imagine.

4. Take the next, best-feeling action, whether it’s big or small.

This is good advice because it works.

Everything is a culmination of lots of actions. It all builds and compounds. We don’t always need to take a huge leap; sometimes, the best feeling action is a small hop.

Don’t devalue or dismiss smaller actions like sending an email or finishing a chapter in a book in lieu of bigger actions we believe are ‘more important.’ That’s just silly talk. All actions, great and small, get you where you want to go.

I hope you find yourself in all sorts of beautiful, messy middles!

Embrace the confusion. Love the uncertainty. Relish in the chaos of creativity.

It’s really fun to see what happens when we decide to get our hands a little (or a lot) dirty.

Are you working on a new creation right now?

What does the messy middle feel like for you?

How do you celebrate progress?

I’d love to know in the comments!

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What did you learn or find helpful?

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