Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Art of Chaos

Life as a working mom is chaos.

Wikipedia says that chaos is derived from an ancient Greek word meaning a state that lacks order or predictability. This matches my life exactly.

The challenge of living a chaotic life is to be able to assimilate everything that is thrown at you (literally and figuratively) with grace and aplomb, and still look blissful while you’re doing it. Ask any mother you know and she will tell you that this is true.

Swirling around us at any one time are any of a score of issues, responsibilities, commitments, expectations, demands and temptations. Our challenge lies in how we deal with that whirlwind within ourselves. What structures do we have in place within ourselves to filter the input and respond to everything that we are bombarded with both skillfully and with compassion?

I have been considering the concepts of action and reaction the last week or so. Our conditioning by and large is to react to most stimulus that we are presented with. Children are a prime example of this behavior. Take a four year olds toy and you are sure to be met with a screech. a whack and a removal of that toy from your possession in short succession. This continues as a theme throughout our growth into adults, and becomes more complex as we grow. The key to handling the chaos with skill is found for me in my yoga practice.

Through the process of self study I am learning how to skillfully recognize my reactions before they become actions. This is the art of my chaos, to feel my reactions arising in my body and then to skillfully choose my actions in response. The other part of my art is flexible planning. So, just as I am learning to be flexible and strong in my body, I am learning how to be strong and flexible in my life. Through asana I am learning to sit with discomfort, consider it and then respond accordingly, and sometimes not at all.

Is there an art to your chaos?

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