Who loves chaos? Raise your hand. Who enjoys confusion? Get in line! Who’s thinks clarity and control are overrated? I KNOW, right?
If you raised your hand, got in line, or agreed with any of this, you can just look at the pictures and smile. If you thought I was kidding or being sarcastic, well, you’re partly right. For most of us, chaos just sucks. It’s counterintuitive bordering on downright silly that there’s a damn thing good about it.
But what if the following “Seven C’s” were true?
- Control is a waste of time as a goal. It’s an illusion at best, the pursuit of which is a trap.
- Clarity is a blessing and a side effect thereof. You can’t force clarity to appear.
- Certainty shuts the door to possibility. Another trap.
- Chaos is what happens between a crumbling state and a new state.
- Confusion is a brake pedal. It asks you to stop running so fast and to listen for the next direction.
- Change is on the other side of the chaos and confusion that you must weather from time to time.
- Consider a different relationship to chaos, and welcome the necessary change.
Maybe it’s exciting, or a relief, to consider that stopping what you were doing is what you’re actually supposed to do when you find yourself in Chaos. The changes that Life (or God or the Universe or your Wife) wants for you usually involve this letting go of an old system to make room for the emergence of a new system.
Gail Blanke is, among other things, the author of a 2004 book called Between Trapezes. Since meeting Gail soon after she wrote the book, that metaphor has really stuck with me. You can’t grab onto the next trapeze bar unless you let go of the one you’re holding. In between bars, you’re flying. You’re in the air, uncertain, thrilled. It is scary. But where would you be if you had hung on to the old bar?
So much of life already takes place in chaos, those times in between an old life and a new life, an old job and a new job, an old husband and a new husband, old assumptions and new perspectives. Look back on those changes. Most of them were probably steps forward, at least in some way. Perhaps your life would be richer and the new order would emerge quicker if you recognized chaos as the friendly catalyst that it is.
The next time your Life serves you a big bowl of Chaos, see if you can fall into it the way you would fall backward into the arms of a stranger in a trust exercise, or jump off a bridge over a rushing river attached to a bungee cord. If chaos is in the in-between moments, that’s also where faith must be. Imagine that the stranger is always behind you, that you always have a bungee cord attached to your ankles.
Maybe that stranger is your personal connection to your Divine source, maybe it’s knowing from experience, maybe it’s advanced logic. Going into the maw of chaos with courage and faith and a hint of thrill is admittedly more easily said than done. It’s hard to Love Chaos and Trust Outcomes. I KNOW! So maybe you fake it at first. You’ll get the hang of it. There’s lots of Life to practice on. And Life is Beautiful.