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Shannon Brady

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The Problem With Keeping it Neat & Tidy

my yoga room

back to boring neutral-hued walls

Two current situations are proving how miserable life is when not allowing myself to get messy. Both on the mat and off. I’ve been in a fixed state of keeping it neat and tidy for two weeks now and the result has been less than 4 hours of sleep a night, an achy right hamstring that’s waiting for some TLC and a “you look really tired,” comment from a pal I recently had lunch with. What gives?

Neat & Tidy is Killing Me Situation #1:

We listed our condo for sale. And man it looks sparkly clean and shows beautifully. After rearranging the furniture and storing anything that resembled clutter (bicycles, over-sized ottoman, computers, Vitamix, Athleta catalog I can’t part with – stuffed in drawers or off-site storage), Swiffer-ing every square inch of hardwood floor and relegating my poor kitties to long stretches in the laundry room, the place looks damn good. But I’m suffering for it. A typical conversation with the man and I goes something like this:

He: “Hey babe, can I make you a veggie shake?”

Me: “Um, do you have a towel and granite cleaner nearby? I just wiped down the counters..”

Our yoga room, complete with a chalkboard wall with inspiring quotes, incense, mats, blocks and a Ganesha mural smiling down at me has sadly been reverted back to what’s supposed to look like a traditional ‘office’ (future buyers, our kind but firm Realtor advised, need a desk and neutral-hued walls to visualize working in there).

Neat & Tidy is Killing Me Situation #2:

I’ve just begun the Baptiste Certification process, and having a helluva time with the video portion. Ya, I have to videotape an entire class with yours truly teaching. Technical nightmares aside (that’s another blog post – my GoPro Hero camera that’s behaving like a Loser), what footage I did capture was real, raw, and messy as it gets. That would be fine, except when viewing the footage I got caught up in neat & tidy on the first attempt or you SUCK mode. Watching the clips over and over again, I sunk further and further down the “I really suck at this” rabbit hole – why am I leaning against that wall? what kind of cue is that? how come I didn’t see that student in the back who needed an assist in chatturanga?

It never occurred to me that videotaping my teaching, reviewing it and incorporating changes is a process. One that takes time to garner results. Instead of treating it as such, I cringed. Lost sleep. Felt more cramps in my right hamstring (stress manifests there). Clearly I’ve been doing the opposite of what I encourage my students to do – enjoy the process, lose the expectations, and treat the messiness as an integral part of growth, awareness, and fun.

So this morning I got on my mat (now in the hallway sans my dearly beloved yoga room-turned-office) and set an intention to practice with a giant smile and commitment to mess it up. Flailing handstands, side crow face plants, jump up thuds and half moon tip-overs were the main course in this morning’s practice. So much fun. And I’m hoping I take this much-needed messiness into the rest of my day and beyond.

Next time you reach for the little accent pillow on the love seat to straighten out, just leave it there. Rumpled and askew. No need to get all neat and tidy today. Mess it up already and see how great it feels!



2 comments on “The Problem With Keeping it Neat & Tidy

  1. Greg Weaver says:


    Greg 267-400-0136

  2. Stephen Bison says:

    You not alone sister. Our little imperfections are someone else’s aspirations.

    I like to focus on The Law of Dominant Thought which says what your mind is focusing on expands.

    If you focus on the missing piece it will consume you into thinking negatively, instead of actually seeing the positive qualities that are right in front of you.

    Instead of having appreciation or gratitude for the scenery in the puzzle, you negatively focused on the one thing missing.

    This kind of thought process can consume you.

    If you focus on what is missing, all you will get is more that is missing.

    But, if you practiced abundance thinking, imagine what kind of impact it could have on your life with your business, relationships, and life.

    You can enjoy more things, appreciate life more, and be in a positive mood which will attract others to you.

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