Be gentle with whatever you're going through.
Know that sanity lies in the meaning of it all.
In everyone and everything lurks the potential for chaos. Amid change, all life is in chaos — the turbulent sea, the fluctuations of wildlife, the oscillations of our hearts and brains.
Life is most exciting when it's in chaos. During periods of emotional chaos, you always seem to grow the most. Disturbances create disequilibrium, but disequilibrium leads to growth. Chaos is a great motivator, prodding you, pushing you to keep going, to renew your beliefs and question your behaviors.
Chaos is just the motion of your system organizing itself into a new focus. When disturbances come, know you are being asked to change and move forward. Sure, it initially disturbs you because it throws you off balance. You can't seem to focus. Nothing appears to get accomplished. But emotional chaos is nothing other than order without predictability.
It goes something like this:
— First you experience a feeling of turbulence or emotional disturbance. You move into a period of oscillation, swinging back and forth between what you feel and what you think.
— As your chaos goes full out, it feels like you're in limbo. This is a place of total unpredictability. But as you open yourself and allow it in, what happens is astonishing. In the realm of chaos, when everything seems to fall apart, this strange kind of force comes into play. It's as though a magnet pulls everything into form.
— Where there was once chaos, there is now an inherent order, your relationship falls into place, the decision you need becomes clear, the business plan you're working on starts to gel. Appreciate the necessity for chaos and you'll understand it as the source of your creative energy and power.
Moving through chaos is a process with many steps:
1. Trust in yourself.
2. Have faith in a higher power.
3. Know that sanity lies in the meaning of it all.
4. Be gentle with whatever you're going through.
5. Look in the direction in which you want to go.
6. Allow yourself to grow, but be willing to be disturbed.
7. Keep moving.
Once you go into your chaos and emerge without too many bruises, you'll know you can throw yourself into the meanderings of chaos anytime, and you'll still be all right.
So the next time you find yourself in chaos, keep moving, and remember what Nietzse said: "You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star."
Learn more about navigating through your emotional chaos in my book, "Emotional Yoga: How the Body Can Heal the Mind" (Simon & Schuster, 2002)
(Photo - Artist: Jun Kaneko)