“What do we do with chaos?
“Creativity has an answer. We are told by those who have studied the processes of nature that creativity happens at the border between chaos and order. Chaos is a prelude to creativity. We need to learn, as every artist needs to learn, to live with chaos and indeed to dance with it and attempt some ordering. Artists wrestle with chaos, take it apart, deconstruct and reconstruct from it. Accept the challenge to convert chaos into some kind of order, respecting the timing of it all, not pushing beyond what is possible—combining holy patience with holy impatience—that is the role of the artist. It is each of our roles as we launch the twenty-first century because we are all called to be artists in our own way. We are all artists as children. We need to study the chaos around us in order to turn it into something beautiful. Something sustainable. Something that remains.” Matthew Fox, Creativity
Last week, I was privileged to hear Matthew Fox speak at a spiritual gathering. He is a powerful speaker and leader, and his philosophy of Creation Spirituality is the basis for the spiritual community to which I belong. Creation Spirituality is the belief that all creation is Original Blessing, and it integrates the wisdom of Eastern and Western spirituality with current scientific understanding and the passion of creativity.
We Must Be Creative To Solve Problems
To those who do not see themselves as creative, Fox’s quote may seem abstract, but as one who has participated in all the fine arts and for a time was a professional modern dancer, I know exactly what he means. In fact, as surprising as it may seem, my studies of dance, theater, voice, and art have all taught me how to create a better life for myself because they taught me how to keep my mind open and how to create order from chaos.
In life as in art, we are continually faced with making decisions. Using our rational mind to make these decisions is one approach, but we also have a right brain, as well as a left brain, that can lead us down many paths to solve each problem. We are most likely to find a good, workable solution to the problems that confront us when we are willing to consider more than one possibility.
We Must Experiment to Create Order Out of Chaos
As a choreographer, I learned to experiment—try this movement and that. I would develop a theme and then create variations to make the dance more interesting while allowing the basic theme to give it unity. When this approach didn’t work, I threw out the movement that didn’t look good and explored how I could use another movement to express my idea. Once in a while, I would choreograph a large portion of a dance and have to face the fact that it just didn’t work. It didn’t communicate what I wanted, or it wasn’t interesting enough, or it just didn’t flow and I would have to throw out the whole thing.
And at times, I would just have to wait. I could feel the solution to the problem simmering in the back of my mind. Then, in a dream or while I was vacuuming or reading a book, suddenly the image would appear—a rhythmic pattern, a series of movements, a costume or concept—and reveal to me the missing piece I needed to complete the dance.
Life often feels like this to me. A problem arises and I don’t know how to solve it. I research, talk to people I know and hopefully what I need to do becomes clear. But at times, my daily life feels like chaos and no answers appear. When it begins to feel out of control, I have to stop. I remember that the answers to my questions cannot appear if I’m not listening with the “holy patience” that Fox refers to.
Answers May Be Found When We Are Quiet
So, I go within to meditate or step into the natural world and let the playful squirrels or singing birds remind me I am a part of something more than the chaos that wears me down. When I’m calm, I am better able to discern what I need to do. It may be nothing or I may need to deal with the chaos by setting up a schedule and prioritizing what I need to do. Using my creativity, I dance on that edge between chaos and order.
We are the artists of our own lives, and we have many choices about how to create order out of our chaos. But the most important thing is for us to believe that we can. We can only change the world if we believe we can change our own lives, and if we believe that, we will find the way to do it. Because each time we succeed in creating order out of chaos, we inspire ourselves and those who observe our actions, who perhaps will be inspired to change their lives.
Our Lives are Sacred
Perhaps this is what Fox meant in his talk when he said, “If we have a sense of the sacred, we can change things.” We do not have to do it alone. In those quiet moments, even in the midst of chaos, we are in touch with Spirit. We are reminded that we are sacred, our lives are sacred, and the earth is sacred. We live in a creative Universe, and as we create our lives, let us remember we are each artists who can create order out of the chaos of our world. No one else can do this for us.
How are you the artist of your life? Please comment.
© 2013 Georganne Spruce