simplicity

How to Embrace Chaos

Image Credit:  Tina Leggio


 

What Is Chaos?

Chaos…  Uncontrollable.  Uninformed.  Absolute.  Uncertainty.  Did I make you nervous yet?  Think of the last time something chaotic happened in your life.  What did you do to get through it?  How did it make you feel?  Vulnerable?  Sick to your stomach?  Excited?  Congratulations, you’re human.  Periods of chaos is a part of the human experience on this wonderful planet we call home.  The weather, the news, national events, a crisis, local emergencies, family emergencies, unplanned experiences, and so on…These are all factors that contribute to what we experience in our lives as “chaos”.  The dictionary describes chaos simply as this:  “Complete disorder or confusion.”

Heres the thing…Chaos, in all of it’s surprising and exciting glory, is truly what makes us grow as humans.  Chaos teaches us lessons.  Chaos gives us stories to tell.  Chaos give us memories (good or bad).  But most importantly, chaos is something that drives us and excites us in our day to day lives.  If you didn't experience chaos in your life, your existence might seem rather boring.  See, if there’s no chaos, there’s no excitement.  If there’s no chaos, there are no stories to be told, nothing learned, no growth.  From my experiences below, I’ve learned to begin embracing chaos, and hopefully this might inspire you to begin doing the same.

The Story

I was a Senior in college.  I’d just graduated with a teaching degree in music.  Since my program was 4.5 years long, that meant I graduated in December.  Great.  Now I have a whole 6 months plus an entire Summer to dwell on the fact that I most likely won’t find a job teaching until that following September.  So graduation happened, I walked across the stage with smile hiding my uncertainty and nervousness for those months ahead.  Like most college graduates that begin their first job search, this of course meant I had to move back home with my parents for the time being.  I wasn’t too excited about this needless to say.  Going away to school for 4 years, living with your best friends and never having to worry about curfews, waking people up, or throwing the occasional get-together at 2am on a Saturday night was completely taken for granted.  As soon as I was home, I soon realized my college days were over.  It’s game time baby, time to crack down and begin this job search.

Months went by.  Day after day I was applying to 15-20 school districts with hopes of moving into my own apartment by the time Summer came.  How nice it would be to have a job lined up, an entire Summer to move, get settled in a new community, meet some new friends, and be ready to rock by the time the school year started!  Well this was surely not the case.  All in all I probably applied to 500 different schools by the time August came.  With a few short weeks left before most schools across the country began, I was getting nervous.  Then it happened.  After applying to a school in a county, city, and state I had never visited before, I received an invitation to a Skype interview.  This happened on a Wednesday.  The following day, I was offered a position as a Director of Bands.  That Thursday, one I remember like yesterday, will forever be remembered as one of the fastest, most chaotic days of my life.  After confirming the position, my next phone call was to my parents (who were at work that day) to explain the good news.  Immediately after that, I was on google, searching for apartments.  Once I had found an area I was comfortable with living in for a year, my next phone call was to Uhaul, trying to rent a trailer for that FRIDAY!  So the next morning came, and I was up at the crack of dawn loading my entire life into the back of a trailer to relocate to a different world, a different life that afternoon.  The next day, Saturday, I was given a tour of my new school, where I would be teaching, and where I would be living.  My head was spinning faster than a tiltawhirl at Disneyland!  Sunday, globally known as a day of rest, was a day of sweating, creating lesson plans that would get me through my first week, and lots and lots of coffee, for sure enough, school started that following Monday.

There you have it.  One whole week of chaos, nervousness, excitement, and learning.  Aside from starting a new job in an area I’m completely unfamiliar with, there were many tasks at hand that I didn’t think I needed to complete right away until I was moved into my new life…Like where my new bank would be, where the grocery stores were, where I could find shopping or entertainment…etc.  Most importantly, what I learned was this:  The bottom line to embracing chaos is simply realizing that our lives would be so.  Incredibly.  Boring.  Without it!  Once you learn to treat chaos as simply another bump in the road, you begin to look forward to moments of chaos.  I’m happy with how my time here has been going, as there is surely never a dull moment!

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Breathing Through the Holidays

 

Can you feel it in the air? It's late November and you know what that means; parties, shopping, mad panic to be perfect and always have a gift ready to give and a smile for all! What of family time? Does the upcoming holidays HAVE to mean stress and running around looking for perfection?  What if this year, it meant something different?

Perhaps instead of "should-ing" on yourself and your kids, maybe you can allow the spirit of non attachment to order your holiday steps this year!  What if the your family and your normal offerings of kindness and compassion were enough?

Now I am not suggesting no parties or presents.  What I am suggesting is returning humanity and breath into celebrations.  Here are a few steps that we have implemented in my big family that have seemed to work over the years:

 

Remember this is suppose to be fun!

Remember that the holidays are about celebrating love and joy.  If you find that the thought of accepting another invitation is making you hold your breath, then maybe that is the one to skip.  It's OK, there will be other days, 365 of them, to schedule a fun get together.

 

Gift giving is from the heart, not the store.

Try giving in the spirit of living simply.  What does the recipient really need?  Yes, something wrapped in a big bow may be nice, but if we drop our need for approval at the door, what gift does this loved one really need?  More get togethers through the year? Some help around the house?  Be creative and let your intuition be your guide.

 

Schedule DOWN time

Make sure that at least one day a week, and one hour per day that you and your family just have nothing planned.  Allow the organic nature of life and ease be the guide of that time.   Let go of attachment to an outcome and trust the process.  The best, most memorable moments came when I let go and just let my family happen.

 

These three simple steps may seem too simple.  Yet when we all remember to slow down and love for real, then our holidays will truly shine bright and full of memories and love!

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Sandra Kozlowski is a single mom of 6, grandmother of 3, a yogi, chemical dependency counselor, doula, midwife's assistant, lactation educator and was a massage practitioner for 12 years.  Sandra's focus is to encourage people to be able to see and feel their own beauty and place in the world.  Currently she is working on a book " Building Blocks of Recovery"

You can connect with Sandra at www.myrealbodyoga.com, www.iamgettingmylifeback.com.  She is also on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, and would love to hear from you!

 

The Importance of the Small Stuff

 

"A small leak can sink a great ship," - Benjamin Franklin.

 

It's easy to overlook the importance of small things, since we often gravitate towards "bigger is better." The current bee situation is a great example. The health of our bee population is critical to our existence, yet these small beings are constantly being pressured by big external stresses like pesticide applications,commercial breeding, and inadequate ecosystems.

I'd like to inspire you to become more aware, and appreciative of the small things in your life. Not only bees, but the seemingly insignificant things that can improve your attitude throughout your daily routine.

Take my kitchen chalkboard for example.

chalkboard simple life yogatraveltree

While I certainly could have done without it, I decided that since I cook at home so frequently, I wanted to recreate that feeling you get when you read through a menu at a restaurant. Writing on my chalkboard is an incredibly joyful experience, as it encourages anticipation, creativity and gratefulness. Now when I sit down to eat my dinner, I savor every bite.

What small things in your life provide you with great happiness?

 

Maybe...

  • Putting on socks that came straight from the dryer on a cold day
  • Watching the sunset
  • Hugging someone you love
  • Smiling at a stranger
  • Reading a book on a rainy day

 

I invite you all to share two small things that would make you happy, or already make you happy. Just the simple act of writing them down will make a positive impact on your day!

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Flora McKay is a yoga lover, recipe writer, nutrition and wellness educator, environmental advocate, and nature enthusiast. With her background in sustainable development and a passion for educating children and families about healthy living, she finds joy in sharing her love of yoga, food and life with others!

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