Living The Mess Logo

We are all part of a living system.

I believe that who we are-how we show up in the world, how we treat others-is more important than what we do.

I've also experienced that, when we change how we are in the world, the world around us changes.

I write about the practices that have helped me.

Spoiler alert: It mostly comes down to walking, nature, mindfulness and acceptance.

What Is Living the Mess?

Hi, I'm Sarah. I'm a nonfiction writer and editor, and I have a very active and creative mind that can be the source of great inspiration…or great pain.

Living the Mess grew out of my personal adventures in neuroplasticity and my search for inner peace. I sought to find answers; I read and listened to every spiritual and metaphysical teaching I could find. I tried everything - and that's what much of this blog is about. Well-being became, and remains, my top priority. 

Newcastle Profile Photos Sarah

Inner Peace in Your Inbox

Join my mailing list to discover ways to find and deepen inner peace, experience a greater connection to life, and learn to stay steady in the midst of life's storms.

In nature, what looks like a mess
in the ancient forest
is actually an intricate ecosystem,
in which each element,
no matter how small,
plays a crucial role.

From the Blog

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Five Ways to Find Calm When Your World is On Fire

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase an item, I may receive a small commission. As I write this, most of us in North America are reeling from the events of the past 48 hours (and worldwide, reeling from the past year). Americans, in particular, are facing uncertainty and confusion that I don’t believe…

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Looking for the Light at the End of the 2020 Tunnel

In my 30s, I began making commitments instead of resolutions, because I could see that making a “resolution” was setting myself up to fail (and therefore, feel bad about myself). Then I began setting intentions. That worked a bit better, though I quickly learned that I can set all the intentions I want, but life might have other plans. A few years ago, I stumbled across a post about someone choosing a guiding word for the year, and that really resonated with me…

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Recovering from Post-viral Fatigue Syndrome

My doctor didn’t think I would recover from post-viral fatigue syndrome. I did. Here’s what happened and what helped me.

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Reflecting on a Year of Change

It’s been 18 months since I last posted, yet Living the Mess has been on my mind every day. While I haven’t been writing posts for this site, as a friend pointed out, I have been living the mess and so experiencing source material for future posts. It didn’t seem right to jump back into…

Five Mindfulness Lessons Learned from Moving

Five Mindfulness Lessons from Moving

Moving is, by definition, massive change. It may not be possible to have a move that isn’t complex, but it can be (almost) stress-free.

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Leaning into Fear and Uncertainty

Renting is a good lesson in stewardship: Nothing is truly ours; we just have responsibility for things for a little while.

We Don’t Know Anything, Really

None of us really knows what we’re talking about. Not me, not you, not anybody else. I mean, we know some relative things about living on this planet, but in the big picture, the absolute? Nothing.  We live in a culture where there’s a premium on having the answers. We hold in high esteem those…

The Lifespan of an Emotion

In neuroscientist Jill Bolte-Taylor’s memoir, My Stroke of Insight, she notes that the physiological lifespan of an emotion in the body and brain is 90 seconds. The sensations—adrenalin, heat in the face, tightness in the throat, rapid heartbeat—arise, peak and dissipate on their own. When was the last time you experienced an emotion for only…

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Separating Facts from Stories

We humans are story-making machines. Yet our minds don’t limit story-making to those times when it’s helpful for us. We all tell ourselves and others stories all the time. Often, those stories create pain—and they’re not rooted in fact.

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Snowstorm as a Metaphor

The accumulated snow from the past two weeks finally began melting today, as temperatures moved slightly above freezing for the first time in…what seems like a very long time. As I was walking, I passed the juniper bush in the photo above. It’s right around the corner from my apartment, and I pass by it at…

Labels are for Jars

Labels are for Jars

The very first thing I did, on my path to healing, was to stop labeling my brain. This was a huge shift. Labels had been my crutch for years. I’d been an active and eager participant in finding external reasons why I was the way I was. I’d had 12 labels—diagnoses—placed on my brain over…

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There is Nothing Wrong With You

We live in a culture that sells the promise of 24/7 productivity (without even asking if that’s desirable), constant giddy happiness, creativity that never gets blocked, financial wealth and endless sexual vitality. Oh, and perfect pores. That’s not life. That’s what we tend to label ‘mania.’ (Except the wealth and pores parts).