“You must carry a chaos inside you to give birth to a dancing star.”
Nobody said change would be beautiful or graceful or even mildly pleasant. No, I was told I’d hate it at times—that I’d want to give up or give in or go back to a time when everything was comfortably messy. And on my weaker days, I do.
I shut myself off, away from the world—”I’m busy,” I say, as I do a whole lot of trivial stuff and not nearly enough of the stuff that sustains me. I share a living room with my boyfriend, but it feels like I’m miles away. I’m really good at shutting down when I’m stressed, how about you?
And gosh do I have stuff to be stressed about: we’re moving for the third time in less than a year in a week’s time and not a thing is packed; I’m starting a new job which will require me to leave town right in the midst of said move; finances are out of whack (still), I’m weighing a master’s program decision, navigating intense therapeutic work, beginning an eBook, and I could go on.
Of course I could. I love to play up how big and important my stressors are—I love to dwell on my high class problems.
I’m not trying to write off my problems or say they’re invalid because zero dying children are involved—they’re my issues—of course they matter. And they deserve my time, energy and attention. But part of that is recognizing that things simply aren’t as bad as they seem. No, I’m not starving and yes, I do have a roof over my head. Phew, now, I can focus on my ‘big’ problems.
And the biggest problem I have in dealing with my problems is the lack of love I bring to the table. I don’t embrace the messy me that’s still trying to figure it all out, crying in the closet or cursing someone in traffic.
I forget to love myself in the craziness and chaos; I forget there’s a message here too. It’s so easy to see in retrospect but let me remember it in the moment: Every part of my life, confusing and painful and backwards as it may be, is bringing me closer to my truth.
I can always choose to go unconscious or live a life of half-hearted awareness. Or I can commit myself to whole-hearted action and empowered, loving expression.There will be consequences whichever way I go.
For better and worse, my spirit won’t let me go unconscious much these days. And when I do, it just doesn’t feel good. I know I’m distorting, or at the very least, avoiding reality for a while and when you know you’re doing this, it isn’t nearly as much fun. The allure is lost and it simply doesn’t work.
I would like so badly to escape into books and cigarettes and chocolate and espresso all day long, but I can’t. I have work to do, words that need wriitng, and more important, loved ones who warrant my undivided attention and a rockin self worth exploring. I trust this and I honor this.
But I’m human and sometimes it’s easier to shut down than to engage with life and all its players head on.
I know—deep down we are all ONE and I can’t pick and choose who is worthy of my love. But I can choose where to focus my time and energy. And I don’t always make the best decisions in this department. I end up spending entirely too much time focused on the perceived wrongdoings of others and pilfer away precious hours with beloved friends and family on my iPhone.
Yes, I’m still a glutton for punishment sometimes.
In many ways, it’s perfectly natural. I pretty much lived in self-destruction from age 11 to 25. Meaning, I’m only a few years into conscious, semi-aware, reasonably responsible living. Before that, ALL I did was escape, self-medicate, numb, destruct, and not deal with my life. Ok so it wasn’t all awful. I had an adolescence and its subsequent horrors as well.
The point is, I got to be real good at not being here. It might have appeared chaotic, but I was really trying to hold on, to keep everything under control. I was so paralyzed by uncertainty that I rejected anything different, even if it promised the freedom and happiness I ached for.
I didn’t know the beauty of calm nor chaos.
And without any clear idea of what I wanted for my life, I decided to dive into experiencing everything I didn’t. Just so I’d know. Turns out, snorting Ritalin is never a good idea. Neither is jail.
Having figured these things out, I still didn’t have a clue. I didn’t know what it meant to live with unfiltered awareness, to forgive my deepest wrongdoings so that I can forgive yours, to practice radical self-love and compassion toward all, to tune into life instead of tuning out.
And now that I’ve had a taste, I can’t go back.
“A mind, once expanded by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions”
―Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.
I’m forever changed by my pain. I know now the promise that even my darkest days contain. And I’m forever grateful for it. It’s taught me that I’m stronger than I think, life is always on my side, and that chaos inspires creation when I open up to it.