Surely a contradiction in terms? You value freedom and spontaneity more than air, and the thought of doing anything in a remotely organised logical manner makes you shudder with fear. You will not be stifled, and will break out of every box you are put in. But what about when your desire to be free becomes the trap that holds you?
When your lack of focus and clear thinking prevent you from doing the things you love, something has to change. Do you dream of travelling the world, but never manage to save enough money? Do you feel overwhelmed managing every day tasks like keeping your house clean, but have dreams bigger than a galaxy?
I used to love flying by the seat of my pants, and still do to some extent, but recently I’ve been burned by my aversion to planning and strategic thinking. When I was much younger my organisational skills were excellent. I was always the one arranging social events, and I managed my finances like a dream. Then I got bored. So so bored.
I rebelled a little, and I had a lot of fun! I quit jobs and took risks. I travelled not knowing when I would come home, or how long my money would last. (Luckily I had all my stuff destroyed in a huge fire, so came home early with more than enough money, but that’s another story!)
I sent my plan of a serious career using my mathematics degree floating happily out of the window. Unfortunately I threw away that entire side of my brain with it, and lost all structure and stability in my life.
I’ve had several wake up calls lately, which have made me realise I need to reclaim my lost skills. One example was when I was refused entry to Panama because I didn’t have the right documentation, and was sent on a bus (in tears, I might add) back to Costa Rica with my tail between my legs. Granted I ended up having the most wonderful Christmas at home with friends and family, but I was frustrated with myself for not being on top of my game.
It’s one thing when a lack of focus and planning interferes with life at home, but when it interferes with my travels, and prevents me from spending Christmas on a deserted tropical island, SOMETHING HAS TO CHANGE!
I still find getting my brain in order a struggle at times, but I am learning to embrace it through a complete change in how I see ‘boring’ administrative tasks. I have my friend Claire to thank for my new found ability to enjoy being organised. She is the absolute Queen of planning, and often writes lists purely for the love of it!
Seeing what a positive impact this had on her life, and the fact it was more of a pleasure than a chore, made me realise that I could benefit from a different mindset. I doubt I’ll ever go back to being the super organised girl I used to be, who had everything under control, but I don’t think I would want to. There was a rigidity to my life that chaos well and truly set me free from.
There is such beauty in letting go, but I have come to see the beauty in organisation too. If you can’t see it yet, I completely understand. To a wild free spirit, structure can feel like it is literally suffocating you. I think this comes from associating things like planning ahead and being proactive with having to do things you don’t want to do. It doesn’t have to be this way though.
I have begun to make a new association with being organised. Instead of feeling a sense of doom when I have to make a phone call, book a flight, or do my accounts, I associate it with a sense of peace. Yet again, it is visualisation to the rescue for me! (I have written MANY posts on this topic.) Whenever I exercise my organisational skills, I see ripples of peace flowing out into every aspect of my life. I know my mind will be just a little bit calmer because of the action I have taken, and I know that these tiny habits will compound over time.
I am passionate about peace. It is something I value as highly as freedom, so when I saw the connection between being organised and living more peacefully, it was easy to embrace a little structure every now and then. I am certainly not claiming to live a serenely peaceful life with everything flowing smoothly, but I have definitely made significant improvements.
Simple things such as writing a shopping list or planning my day can take away unnecessary stress, leaving my mind clear and tranquil. This is the ultimate prize, especially for a dreamer. The more efficient we can be at dealing with the necessary but sometimes boring details of life, the freer we are to see the magnificence of the bigger picture.
So next time you’re struggling to get the washing up done, or lacking the motivation to get your finances in order, try thinking of it as a way of cultivating a deeper feeling of peace in your life. Remember this while you are completing the arduous or boring task, and after you have finished feel grateful that you taken a small step in the direction of a more smoothly flowing life.
There is great freedom in floating through our days in a dreamy messy haze, embracing whatever life throws at us. Our wild side is an asset that should never be lost. However, when we combine it with joyfully doing the things that will ultimately make our life easier, we taste a greater freedom than we ever imagined possible.
Do you have a good balance of order and chaos in your life, or do you lean more towards one side? If you keep everything in perfect order, do you wish you could let go a little? If you always go with the flow, do you wish you had a little more control? I’ve thoroughly experimented with both, so would love to hear from you either way!