Springs of Joy: Embracing chaos PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 September 2011 14:20

BY Jane dela Cruz Bascar

The other weekend, I finally had time to catch up on myself. I had originally planned to take advantage of the 4-day break by getting away for a while but at the last minute, I decided otherwise. Something deep within held me back although I’d say a stiff neck, the stack of papers I  needed to wade through, the grades waiting to be computed,  and the fast approaching deadlines were by themselves more than enough incentive for me to stay home.  

Good thing I heeded the longings of my soul. For weeks now my life had been chaotic as I found myself in an endless race against time trying to get so many things done all at once.  With my saying yes to teaching (something which wasn’t even a blip on my radar screen at the start of this year), my routine was drastically altered throwing my sacred rituals, my daily meditation practice, my regular exercise, my eating habits, my writing and other hobbies out the window. For someone like me who prefers a more relaxed pace and a pared down lifestyle, the speed at which things changed was dizzying. It took some time before I could get used to the altered rhythm of my daily grind without gasping for breath as much as I did at the beginning. And not before acceptance of my lot took place.  If it were the Old Me facing this reality now, I’d definitely have a lot more difficulty embracing my present circumstances. Most likely, I’d be spending more time whining, resisting, and struggling. But perhaps, age, experience and some wisdom have taught me to be friendlier with the world around me. They have taught me that the faster I gracefully give in, and the more willing I am to dance Life’s dance despite the lack of certainty where the dance may lead the easier life gets. Before, I used to want to be in total control of how things unfolded but realizing that I can’t, I learned to make peace with change, disruption, chaos and discovered that this is how one can engage the creative process. All that is needed is a lot of trust that even as things turn upside down, deep down there is order in disorder and that everything is falling perfectly into place the way the pieces of a puzzle fall into their rightful places.

Embracing chaos wasn’t automatic for me however. I taught myself how to befriend it when I started orchestrating chaos myself. To shake myself out of a rigid mindset, for some time now, every month whenever I can, I’d deliberately throw my room into disarray – moving things around, emptying closets, digging out files, sorting them out and discarding them. This I’d do despite my room being spic and span with everything working as it is. This practice taught me how as my mind is freed of its moorings and  allowed to roam unrestrainedly to dabble with new ways of doing things, I can fashion and create something new, something fresh, something interesting out of chaos. It has taught me to trust the creative process – that no matter how messy things may seem from the outside, an Unseen Hand always ensures that all is well and everything is exactly as it should be. As I reflect on my own experience with chaos and disorder, I am reminded of what writer Gay Hendricks says:

“There is the inevitable tendency of things to fall apart, no matter how hard you try to keep up a discipline of conscious living. You’ll be meditating and journaling and taking care of your body, and then things will go ahead and fall apart anyway. The ancient Hindu system describes three great universal forces: creating, maintaining, destroying. In other words, things will always be born, stay the same for a while, and fall into chaos. That’s not a bad way of looking at things, because it takes off the pressure to create and maintain all the time. If you give yourself permission to fall apart now and then, you lighten up yourself so that there’s more room in you to accept the inevitable changing of circumstances.”

The wisdom in Hendricks’ words is a gift that eases so much of the pressure of trying to do everything as perfectly as I can all the time.  I find comfort in knowing that I am allowed to fall apart now and then and that as I embrace chaos and participate in the process creation, I give birth to new possibilities. I find the lesson timely because I have a feeling that just when I have settled into my new routine and have even learned to look forward to it, another whirlwind will sweep me off my feet, snatching my new vocation away from me temporarily and forcing me to attend to something more important, urgent and pressing.  When it does, I hope I will remember these lessons and find peace even in the midst of a hurricane.  

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