I’m the oldest of seven children, five boys and two girls. Growing up with four hyper-active brothers (the boy/girl twins arrived on the scene when I was 14), our home was constant chaos. Slingshots firing, mad games of indoor tag, impromptu cooking and science experiments that often spilled from the kitchen out into the whole house, remote control helicopters buzzing overhead, kids hanging from outdoor ziplines yelling at the top of their lungs and wrestling, wrestling and more wrestling–were the norm.
I’m highly adventurous, so I often just joined the craziness. But I remember watching my mom—an only child with an artist’s temperament—try to find a spot of calm amidst all the madness. I’d often see her light a candle in a quiet corner of the kitchen, pause for a moment of inspirational reading or more often, plop down in the middle of all the activity and play a classical guitar prelude from Bach— she was an amazing musician. (More about growing up in my unique family in Nurturing the Soul of Your Family or check out this wonderful free interview series where I share more about my upbringing and how it impacted my work today. )
As I look around me right now and see my friends/colleagues and clients navigate extreme chaos, disequilibrium and messiness within their workplaces, nonprofit organizations, as they manage divorces and health crises and parent their growing adolescents– my first reaction is to want to whisk them away from all this craziness and deliver them to a calm, remote desert island.
But I’m hearing another invitation right now to just be with the mess. To feel unsettled. To allow in uneasiness. To embrace the unknown, to find new ways to be comfortable with things exactly as they are and discover—like my mom did—how to find a spot of quiet in the midst of it all.
The natural order of things is chaos-order-chaos and on and on. But as I look around at some of the global and national political, economic and social challenges we’re facing, I’m beginning to think we may be in chaos for a while. So this week, the question I’m sitting with, is, “Can I be in the messiness without constantly wanting things to be different? Can I, like my mom, find small pockets of peace while still being present to and fully engaged with what’s happening around me?”
P.S. One of the things that most helps me navigate disequilibrium, chaos and uncertainty is to remember to ask for help and to nourish myself by taking a retreat. Read 5 reasons I take retreats and consider reaching out to one of our amazing senior coaches for individual support. Shoot us an email to set up a free consult.