Wednesday, December 5, 2007

On chaos

I was thinking this morning, as I drove Katie to school, about chaos--and about how we are all so ashamed and afraid of our chaos, building all manner of defenses to hold it at bay. And how, even so, inevitably, it creeps into our lives. I was thinking about messy houses and money and how we all think we are supposed to be so on top of it all and so organized, with our laundry folded and our checkbooks balanced and our balance sheets... well, balanced. And you know what? That is just such a load of crap.

There's no shame in chaos or in revealing that we are behind in taxes or twelve dollars overdrawn (as I so often find myself) or that we can't find the piece of paper we just had a minute ago. This is just life pressing us up against the edges of limits--and that's what's supposed to happen as life flows through us. These little breakdowns in order or systems or structures are just evidence of the ways that we are learning to turn the spigot of the hose up or down to "control" the force at which our lives flow.

Chaos has been coming at me full throttle ever since I woke up at two in the morning to watch the barn in my backyard burn to the ground last April. Paradoxically, chaos, like fire has turned out to be the most transformative force I've ever known... and I AM getting to know it, that's for sure.

The thing is, the more it comes at me, the more I'm getting used to it. And I've discovered that when I stop resisting it and just let it flow in to fill all the cracks in my life, some pretty amazing things happen!

Things like transformed relationships to my husband, to money, to friends. Things like finding my cousin, Laura--and rising to the challenge of getting my father into a nursing home, and now, the new challenge, of getting him (possibly) out. And things that I've been wishing for for years, like a real shot at finishing a book, and attending stellar classes with kick-ass teachers and going back to school... oh, and last week, in a wave of chaos that I can only describe as glittering with golden flakes, I stumbled across the house of my dreams, (one week before I was scheduled to purchase another house) and we made an offer that made us hold our breath (because it was quite low but it was all we could afford) and found it, to our incredulous delight--accepted.

Caroline Myss says that human beings spend more time trying to "control" chaos than any other activity. She makes fun of us, how we bargain with the gods ("If I am a good girl/boy, and I do all the things I am supposed to do," we plead, "wil you agree not blow my house down?")

Can you just imagine the gods, hearing this, looking down and saying, "I am not listening to you right now. I am over here making the wind whirl around the earth and aligning the stars and planets and lighting up the sun each morning. Your life isn't about me giving you anything. Your life is about you, harnessing your own universe and sorting through it like a pile of pretty shells."

The gods say, "What you send out returns... that is how it works and chaos is all there is. But the chaos is the reason it works. For in chaos, there's an infinite, unbounded supply of energy rushing around, swinging like a pendulum from yin to yang. Reach up, if you want some and take it--use prayer to focus your intention and let it flow into your life. If it blows you over, pray. Prayer is your tool for focusing the energy of the universe into form.

The gods say: Ask for what you want, we will send it. Then, grab it--and use it however you want.

And when chaos comes, be very clear that it has come because you have asked the gods to change your life in some way. And then, instead of trying to hold back the surging flow, grab it by the tail and see where it takes you.

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