Mama Wisdom: 3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back Is 1 Step Forward

When I do laundry with Ikenna, as I’m folding clothes in one place he’s removing clothes from a drawer somewhere else. Or he’s throwing socks down the hallway. He actively unmakes whatever order I’m trying to create. Things still get done, just at half the speed.

I’ve practiced allowing his chaos to be what it is, and watching my reactions to it. The range of emotions volleys from control to shame to apathy to delight.

In action, I get the damn laundry done. Just not the way I intended, and a bit messier than I’d like. And I can smile along the way.

The lesson:

How much kinder would I have been with my body and heart if I’d been able to hold this wisdom in my social change work?

I’ve watched policy cycles unmake years of coalition building. I’ve watched leaders at the edge of their growth zones destroy delicate negotiations. I’ve seen chaos in all forms undo what I work everyday to do, and I took it personally.

It’s not personal.

It’s a universal force doing what it does.

I will strive to create things I care about. I will watch external forces undo those things. In fact, one day the ultimate external force (entropy) will unmake my body and I will die. This is in tune with cycles.

When I feel this, REALLY feel this, I understand why acceptance and surrender lie at the core of my spiritual practice. In those moments I feel profound flow in my work and service. I can do my thang without being attached.

Ironically, I get more effective in my work as a result. The “twice as long and messier than I’d like” is realistically how most things happen. It takes practice to plan and structure for this truth. I’ve found it’s a much healthier way to work. It allows for training, mistakes, and humanity. It encourages connection, humility and authenticity. It builds things that last.

Grateful for the little bundle of beautiful chaos teaching me this lesson 24/7.