Holding My Own In Chaos – Part 2

(Part 2 of our La Chispa share is my response to Steph’s ass-kicking nudge)

Hey, Steph,

Well, that chaos thing…it kicked my ass. Since your email arrived I’ve worked with the sentence stem you suggested about holding my own in chaos. Here’s of bit of what I’ve uncovered.

“If I could hold my own in chaos, I would feel terrified. Too vulnerable. That the strong of current of chaos would drown me bury me and I’d fall off the earth into infinite darkness. I have felt this since I was five years old. There was a lot of chaos in my family. I remember going to bed and laying there in the dark. Worrying and obsessing about the end of gravity as we know it. My solution on those nights was to draw an imaginary dinosaur around the earth so, if gravity did end and I fell off the earth, I wouldn’t fall forever. I would be contained in the inside space of my imaginary dinosaur. That was my first experience of managing the anxiety that even the slightest bit of chaos stirred up.”

My main management style, being an anxious introvert, was to isolate. Shut down. Don’t move too fast. Don’t be too loud. Don’t ask for help. Stay small and invisible. My first response to anything spontaneously offered was a big fat NO. Because saying yes might cause chaos. I felt like I could manage the chaos if I kept myself and my world small, without any surprises.

In one way it served me. Isolating did keep me from feeling overwhelmed by chaos, but it also disconnected me from the flow of daily life. Which includes spontaneity. Which includes connection. Which meant the deep discomfort of chaos wasn’t far behind. Which left me feeling like a line from a David Byrne song: I’m tense and nervous and I can’t relax.

What I feel now, like you, is an energetic nudge/pull to be more in the flow of daily life. What I know now is I have a strong avoidant personality style. That chaos terrifies me. That managing chaos is exhausting. That isolating is life deadening.

I also know, to be more in the flow of life, I have to deeply know what my rhythm for connection and solitude (not isolation!) are. Then I need to show up for myself with the most compassion and kindness I can muster.
For me, holding my own in the chaos means trusting what is moving in me in any one moment. Trusting, with baby steps, that eventually my natural rhythm for being in the flow or out of the flow, will slowly unwind.

Relax. Eventually it happens. Slowly unwinding it comes. This is how it should feel at any one moment. The showgirl must go on!

Thanks, Steph…for sending me a nudge that kicked my ass hard in a good way!! I so love this work we are doing together. In the flow of life…when there’s chaos and when there isn’t.

Love, Sarah



Somatic Nudge: Finding your own rhythm with chaos and isolation
This is something I’ve been playing with when I feel the strong pull to isolate. Before shutting down and deadening myself, I take a walk. Or, if the overwhelm of chaos already has me by my short hairs, I take a walk.

The Nudge:
Where you walk doesn’t matter. I walk in my backyard. Or I walk to the river. Or I just walk around my living room. I play with the pace. I walk fast. Then I walk slow. Really slow. And then back to fast. Sometimes I let my arms join in when I walk fast. I move them in time with my pace. Or I let them wiggle around. Up and down. Chaotically. Then I slow down again, taking eensy-weensy baby steps. And I let my arms join in, sort of, by wrapping them tight around myself or pinned firmly against my sides. Fast walking and wiggly arms lets me move strong overwhelm of chaos.
Slow walking and holding myself tight lets me move the strong pull to isolate energy.Playing with both helps me know and find my own rhythm and capacity for connection and isolation.

Now, go play with your walking. What feels good? What doesn’t? Is there a natural rhythm, between the two, that slowly begins to unwind in you? How is it to follow your own rhythm? Is it possible to relax into your own, natural rhythm?

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