I remember receiving a teaching many years ago proposing that 80% of what happens in life is a direct result of our choices, decisions and actions. The other 20% is governed by the uncontrollable and unpredictable forces of chaos. Wrapped up in the illusion of self-importance, I self-assuredly believed myself to be the captain of my own ship, sailing the seas of reality with confident ease. I believed no storm could knock me off my course, so I politely listened to my teacher but didn’t believe her words applied to my life. After all, I reasoned, I’m too clever and too aware to let chaos get the better of me.
Although I have had many minor skirmishes with chaos in my life, none of them were unmanageable. Recently, however, Chaos has come thundering into my life like a tidal wave crashing through my placid sea of complacency. I have been set adrift, alone in my ship with no rudder or sails. The violent currents now direct an unknown course, while howling winds scream in my ears and waves batter me into humble submission.
My mind races in circles, frantically searching for a logical explanation of why this uninvited, volatile whirlwind of chaos has taken over my life. As I retrace my steps I become entangled in a web of regrets for poor choices made. I beat myself up for not being aware of the potential consequences. My suppressed fear for losing control of my reality, escapes from its shadowy imprisonment. It rises above me, terrorizing me into a crumpled powerless heap. The unpredictable hands of chaos have swept me up, depositing me on a razors edge between sanity and insanity. My nerves are frayed as the stress deposits weighted knots of dread into the pit of my stomach. Sleep flirts with me, making brief visits during infrequent moments of silence. My emotions intensify, crashing against me with a thunderous force. They incessantly claw at a once steady shore, eroding away at my former confident control of reality. I feel powerless to once again captain my own ship and direct my life back to its previously normal, comfortable state.
In a recent moment of clarity, I understood that even within the frenzied, hectic disorder of chaos, there is pattern. Chaos is nothing but energy moving from an infinite array of possibilities, eternally shifting from one pattern to reconfigure itself into a new one. Nothing ever stays the same. This is both a fundamental truth and a universal law. Energy cannot be fully harnessed, controlled or destroyed, nor can any form of resistance withstand its movement or direction. I prefer patterns which are recognizable and familiar to me over those that feel strange and foreign. I feel attached to the comfortable patterns I have both accepted and created in my life and I resist changing or letting them go. My immediate impulse is to fight against chaos whenever it threatens to shift or change my comfortable patterns. In truth the new pattern scares me because I don’t recognize or understand it. I have no idea of where it will take me or how it will change my life. Instead I get caught up in stress, worry, anxiety, exhaustion and fear.
The only effective action that can be taken with chaos energy is to accept that it is ever present and then choose to align with its flow, instead of resisting it. Therefore as I move wholeheartedly towards resolution with my current dysfunctional relationship with chaos, I must affiliate myself not through resignation but more from humble acceptance.
All possibilities already exist within chaos, including our desired goals, we just haven’t caught up to them yet. The goal is an unrecognised pattern; revolving, orbiting, shifting, moving and changing along with all the other possible patterns floating around in the chaotic soup. Our intent therefore, is to sift through all the various configurations of possibilities that are currently at play in our reality and focus our sights on the one that takes us toward our desired goal. There will be moments when we get distracted and once again find ourselves plagued with the stifling fear of the unknown. Frozen by the fear of making the wrong choice, we can easily become mired in indecision as the unpredictable hurricane of chaos swirls around us from all sides. The storm chaos brings, never really goes away. The best place to be is in its eye where we will be met with silent stillness. To get there we need to pause, take a few slow deep breaths and relax into the gentle rhythm of inhaling and exhaling. Then we can return our focus on our desired outcome and choose to take the most effective actions that will move us towards this reality.
These are the simple steps that continue to help me reclaim my power, returning me to the helm once again as the captain of my ship. As simple as this may appear, I don’t always have the discipline or awareness to get myself to pause and not go into stress, let alone breathe, relax, focus and choose a more appropriate action. It’s in these moments that I accept that I am not perfect, and I will make mistakes. The key is not to quit on myself, but rather to have patient understanding that I will bring my awareness back to the eye of the hurricane. Only then, can I take the necessary steps moving me closer to my goal as I continue learning to align and ride the waves of chaos.