I have always loved watching nature documentaries as it never ceases to amaze me how innately in tune animals live with the land, the weather and with one another. Recently I watched a documentary of a lion hunt where the level of coordination and organisation between the lions inspired me to look at my own orderliness, or as it happened, lack thereof.
In the documentary, three lions teamed up to hunt down a zebra drinking at a water hole. They organised themselves into a triangular arrangement, surrounding the zebra, and waited. For many hours the lions shifted their positions subtly and methodically, communicating with each other silently.
They appeared to be very well ordered and disciplined in how they worked as a group.
Eventually, when the timing was just right, one of the lions pounced and they got their dinner. It seemed to me their success depended on their ability to carry out the hunt with a high degree of order and precision. Without that, there was no guarantee of success, therefore no food, and therefore no more lions.
I decided to ponder on the level of order and structure I have had throughout my life.
I realised that growing up, my bedroom was always a mess. I had a chair in the corner that became a dumping pile for clothes not clean enough to return to the cupboard, but not yet dirty enough to put in the laundry. My wardrobe was also a mess, stuffed with clothes and shoes. Nothing was neat and tidy; I had no discipline in putting things where they should go.
I still seemed to know where everything was though, so I prided myself on living in organised chaos. But honestly, I felt quite messy, muddled and busy whenever I was in my room. I actually did love having a tidy room, when everything fitted into my drawers and cupboards, and I loved being able to see straight away where everything was.
Fortunately, every few months I was ordered by my parents to clean up my room. We always argued about it, but in the end I would spend half a day tidying it up.
I remember how wonderful and refreshing a tidy, orderly room felt, and I too felt open and clear in my thinking.
In those moments, I knew that the bravado at living with ‘organised chaos’ was rubbish and my parents knew I knew it too! I eventually felt grateful for being given the opportunity to feel how lovely tidiness, organisation and order are, instead of mess, chaos and clutter.
So what else happens when I am living an ordered life?
- My life flows
- My emotions feel stable and in balance
- There is less that can surprise me (surprises take away my steadiness)
- I am truly comforted because my surroundings support me
- I feel no anxiety – the more organised and ready I am, the more equipped I feel to handle what life brings.
As an adult now with my own house, I know what it feels like when I clean out the linen cupboard, pantry, shoe rack, cutlery draw, shed, desk, or weed the garden. It feels amazing, and I feel 12 feet tall!
I have discovered that it is actually not hard to keep it this way, it just takes commitment and discipline to live like this, founded simply upon feeling how lovely it feels to be in a tidy and organised home.
I have come to realise that I am disturbed by disharmony, just like the lions, and that I like organising my home, choosing order over complexity.
By Suzanne Anderssen, Brisbane