How do you deal with external chaos? How do you deal with internal chaos? Which is the most effective way to become calm?
When I started writing this blog last week, it was January sixth and I was too upset by the violence at the Capital to finish and publish it. Then my husband and I decided that evening that the next day we needed to put down our dear dog Susie Q. Emotionally, I had no choice but to write a blog about her that I published on January seventh.
Now that I have seen more videos of the carnage in Washington, DC and the danger inflicted on our representatives and senators, my perspective on chaos has not changed. While I am stunned by the extreme event, I’ve attempted to stay calm inside as Copra recommends. That does not mean I approve of the violence in any way and I’m appalled by the lack of safety in the Capital. Voting and peaceful protest are two ways we can speak our minds in a democracy and in the long run are more effective.
So far this year, I have not made a list of new year’s resolutions, but I have intended to start each day with a meditation. I managed to do that only one day so far. Creating a consistent pattern requires quieting my mind more than I have been able to do so far.
Difficulties Are Upsetting
Doing things that were never a problem before have become difficult. I’ve already been upset a number of times dealing with technical changes when my computer updated its main system. Symbols on the computer page look different or they are in a different place, so I have to hunt for what I used to find and click quickly. Processes changed and I have to search for a new series of steps.
Even before the violence in D.C., when I combined the technical challenges with the difficulty of ordering groceries and everything else I order online, life felt chaotic. I was frustrated with how difficult it was to do the simplest thing. In this upset state, I tend to create more mental chaos by getting upset over problems that can be easily solved. It just gets to be too much!
Many people turn to alcohol or drugs not prescribed by a doctor at times like this. That seems like an easy answer to calming the chaos, but that solution may have very negative consequences. We each tend to create our own style of avoidance to hide from the chaos, but we need to choose a healthy approach or we will complicate the challenges.
Calming Our Minds Is Simple
The best approach that I have found is basically very simple. Sit still. Take deep breaths. Stop reacting. I can’t always change the external chaos, but I can detach from the inner turmoil.
When we sit quietly, close our eyes, and breath quietly, in time, peace will surround and move through us. This is one way to silence the chaos. It may warm the chill we feel or cool the heat. When we take the time to detach from what is upsetting us, the solution we need may come to us in the stillness.
Tom Barrett says, “Chaos in the world brings uneasiness, but it also allows the opportunity for creativity and growth.”
I have found that one way to encourage this expansion of ideas is to write in a journal. When I do that, I’m totally unconcerned with grammar or word usage. I record whatever flows through my mind without judging its value. Often, these messages are flowing from the heart and soul, not just the mind, and they take me to a deeper place than when I consciously think about the situation that has alarmed me.
Chaos Hides Positive Solutions
Recently I became very upset when Amazon lost track of a shipment of granola. The order included several packages because the product was not available in small amounts. Other companies were out of it. Customer Service was very nice about replacing it, shipping another order to me immediately, and not charging me for both. They said if the original shipment reached me, I could just keep it.
I told Amazon that two orders would be too much for me to keep and I didn’t want them to leave it. After many excuses about why they couldn’t return it, they decided they would tell the driver to just keep the extra order on the truck.
After I hung up, my husband said, “But couldn’t we give the extra to some place like Manna Food Bank?”
I was stunned that I had been so self-centered. The granola would be a perfect donation, especially for the homeless. I was so sad that I had gotten upset and let my chaotic mind rule my heart. When I calmed down, I prayed that the extra shipment would arrive, and it did, two days later. The driver delivered it to the door and we will deliver it to a group that serves the homeless.
When we let our mental chaos be in control, it will not take us to a good place. It is wise to listen to the stillness within and allow the best part of ourselves to make our decisions.
© 2021 Georganne Spruce