How To Make Sense Of Chaos
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” — Anne Lamott
Does your life sometimes feel like it is spinning out of control? That no matter how hard to try to fix things, nothing seems to work and so you give up? This can be a misguided perception because you’re invested in your circumstances and unable to see an alternative solution. Consider the following tale by Anthony de Mello which highlights our reaction to life: Everyone was surprised by the Master’s updated metaphor: “Life is like a motor car.” They waited in silence, knowing that an explanation would not be long in coming. “Oh yes,” he said at length. “A motor car can be used to travel to the heights.” Another silence. “But most people lie in front of it and allow it to run over them and then blame it for the accident.”
Our greatest challenge is overcoming our sense of helplessness. However, this too is an illusion and not indicative of what is taking place. When we become invested in the drama around us, we cannot make sense of it and assume chaos is detrimental. In fact, upheaval may be what we need to advance us to the next point in our life. The most significant act we can undertake to reclaim our life, is to surrender. I realise this goes against every principle of setting your life on track. Nevertheless, what if this simple understanding propelled you to a new way of life? Surrender does not mean apathy, yet something more significant. It entails yielding to the process called life, by allowing what needs to transpire, irrespective of your thoughts and preconceived ideas. Your ideas and beliefs about the world give meaning to what is taking place around you.
To reclaim your life, requires finding your own path and following the journey wherever it leads. It’s a rewarding adventure, given the discoveries made along the way. Thus, it pays to be vigilant and know what’s important to you to discover this path. It is easy to be distracted by unimportant matters and sadly, many people succumb to this way of living because they react to what happens before them. How you respond to life, reflects whether you’re pulled by situations or people that don’t relate with your deepest values. Life proceeds with its own agenda, directed through you. Yet, it’s derailed by trivial matters since we lose sight of what we value most. I liken it to working on a computer and besieged with pop-up messages from a mail program. If you’re like most people, they respond to the messages, texts or incoming calls as they arise because they’re habituated to do so, like Pavlovian Conditioning. What if there’s a better reaction instead of plunging ourselves into unimportant issues? The choice is not to allow external events to disrupt your inner stability.
It’s In Your Response
“Courage is reclaiming your life after a devastating event robs you of your confidence and self-esteem. It is facing tomorrow with a firm resolve to reach deep within yourself to find another strength, another talent. … It is taking yourself to another level of your own existence where you are once again whole, productive, special…” — Catherine Britton
We must be mindful of the excuses that keep us trapped in our comfort zone. This safe harbour is where we avoid confronting life’s pressing issues while delaying the inevitable. Eventually, it overwhelms us because we grow accustomed to running away from our problems instead of meeting them head-on. Life needn’t be a series of unfortunate events. You have the power to take affirmative action to reclaim your life. First, you must discover what is important to you and let go of distractions that don’t complete the picture. I assure you, life will pull you in every direction not of your choosing and if you’re not firm in your position, you’ll find yourself in a place you care little for. This is why many people are unhappy in intimate relationships because they’re enticed by the initial spark that alights their interest. They respond like a child with new toys, believing the relationship will stay the same. It seldom does and soon enough they find themselves stuck and unable to Navigate Life. Have you noticed this in your own life? The grass is seldom greener on the other side because wherever we go, we take ourselves with us. That is, our problems follow us wherever we go if we have not made peace with them.
Life is not to blame for our circumstances. It results from our less than unwavering commitment to pursue what is important to us. If you’re in a position that is not benefitting you, ask yourself: “What really matters to me?” Continue to pose this question for thirty days until answers appear. What emerges will be insights giving you clues to what you value most. Pursue it. However, what arises, may go against your better judgement and force you out of your comfort zone; that’s okay, go with it. For something to be of value, we must let go of fixed ideas not in alignment with a greater vision for our life. There’s a place within us, a universal wisdom that knows our needs. We may not be aware of it as it’s drowned out by the incessant chatter in our mind. This radio mind distracts us of what’s essential. To live a spirited life, we ought to turn down the volume on our thoughts and tune in to the ever silent, infinite wisdom that lies deep within us. I assure you it’s there.
People claim not to hear it or that it doesn’t exist because they can’t get quiet enough to perceive it. It may take months or years to drown out the incessant chatter and allow the silent voice to direct you to the life you’re meant to live. What’s the rush, anyway? Your Instagram and Facebook friends will still be there, so set aside your communication devices for now. Don’t go another minute living a complicated life, claiming it is a series of trials and tribulations. Be vigilant how you respond to life and trust there’s a greater plan for you, beyond your understanding. You needn’t know the plan in its entirety right now. Take one step at a time. Every day, life will show you what needs to be completed, who you need to meet with, what books you need to read and the resources you require. As the opening tale suggests: step out of the way of the motor car and into the passenger seat to assume your role as creator and navigator of your life.
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