Facing change and embracing chaos.
Throughout my life I have resisted change as much as possible and with this resistance I have lived mostly with internal chaos. Resisting change mostly meant avoiding change, numbing out the overwhelming emotions that came with change, and also on many occasions not really feeling anything when change occurred. Living most of my adult life with internal chaos meant that I never truly felt grounded or settled with the here and now, instead I would unconsciously seek out a new adventure that would throw my life in a new direction. With every adventure there was uncertainty, and over the past few years I have become more grounded and with this came a resistance to change and a need for order.
So what is so scary about change? Can change be a good thing? How do we find order amongst the chaos of existence? How can we accept and embrace change?
Recently I have been faced with a major change, a change that I felt coming, a change that I typically resisted. For almost 3 years I have been co-running my own sales and marketing business, it has had its ups and downs like any other small business throughout covid, about a month ago we decided to slowly transition and close down the business. With this huge change came the chaos, and with the chaos I have felt a huge sense of failure and whilst I tried to keep my head above water financially, emotionally I have felt like I have been drowning.
‘I have been lost at sea on a damaged ship, everyone has jumped ship, I am alone. The more I try to fix the ship, the more tired I become and the storm is fastly approaching. All the work I had done fixing the ship was worthless, the storm is getting closer and slowly but sure I will drown amongst the wreckage.’-From my reflective journal
Although I knew I didn’t want to remain in sales forever, losing the sense of control threw me deep into the storm of chaos. Change can be scary when it is out of your control, and that is exactly how I felt, I began to notice a pattern of mine creeping back-this pattern is my need for having to control everything in order to resist chaos. The main reason change is scary is because it throws us out of our comfort zone, when faced with a major change we begin to create scenarios of situations that we fear the most. At least for myself with the approaching storm of change came an overwhelming sense of anxiety, stress and negative self-talk.
“Change can be scary, but you know what’s scarier? Allowing fear to stop you growing evolving, and progressing” -Mandy Hale
Through reflective journaling, art workshops and reading I have been doing my best in the moment with simply staying afloat. Realising what I can control and accepting my current situation for what it is has been one way I have decrease the anxiety around the chaos, I have applied for numerous new jobs that are closer to what I truly want to do and I have looked into furthering my studies in art therapy and AOD counselling which began to shift my perspective around change. Realising that without the change and without the current chaos in my life I could have remained stuck on a sinking ship, working really hard to keep my head above water and in the long run still ended in the same result. Finding the positive with everything happening seemingly so sudden, is that it has forced me into the unknown. Change has positively accelerated my life situation and life goals into the here and now.
‘I have decided to remain on the sinking ship, no longer resisting the storm on the horizon, rather I surrender to the storm, I accept that this too shall pass. As the storm destroys my ship, I remain present in the here and now, hopeful that I will survive, I will remain amongst the wreckage and stay strong and fight my way through the waves until I reach the shore.’-From my reflective journal
Finding the order amongst the chaos, for myself, is where I have learnt to let go of the need for control and face my patterns of resistance for change. I would say that in truly living you can't expect to have order without chaos, and there can’t be chaos without order. Living on the edge of chaos has given me a sense of urgency and responsibility to get up each day and continue my healthy habits and be proactive when faced with change. Although making the decision to close down the sales and marketing business was for the best in regards to me achieving my future goals, it didn’t make it an easy reality to face.
One of the most challenging aspects of facing change and living on the edge of chaos has been my sobriety, although I am proud to say I am still sober I would be untruthful if I didn't admit that the thought of having a few drinks to take the edge off the stress hasn't constantly been in my thoughts. With these thoughts I reminded myself to just focus on my sobriety one day at a time, and ask myself questions around what help would drinking alcohol really solve right now. Remaining on my chosen path of sobriety means that I have found other ways to navigate through these overwhelming past few weeks, through morning meditation, freeform writing and art making. I have over time built these other outlets to ensure that I am taking care of myself, healthy outlets that support my mental health wellbeing and support me in remaining sober.
Accepting and embracing change and chaos has not been easy, I have found myself going through a whirlwind of emotions, from almost manic high’s to really low lows; it has truly been a challenge. Throughout this present moment challenge I have just finished reading the art of happiness by the Dalai Lama, and one message stood out and has really helped with my perspective around change and that is to find meaning in pain and suffering, so I will end this blog post with a quote from this book.
“Although you might not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how you choose to respond to the situation” Dalai Lama Sarah