Does your life ever feel overwhelming? Pick up a few tips here to stay centered amidst the chaos.
by Tessa Bender
“We live in a rainbow of chaos!” 19 th century French artist Paul Cézanne so brilliantly proclaimed. While we may do our best to plan for the future, wake up each morning to perform our routines and rituals, no matter what, each day will vary and every once in a while, something will throw us off our track. Perhaps, it manifests as an overwhelming ‘To Do’ list, the creeping feeling that you’re always behind, or the delicate dance of balancing work and family life. What we do know, is life is guaranteed to throw us off our rocker every once in a while. What we need in these moments is not simply the capacity to cope and “get by”, but the ability to reframe our experience and embrace the chaos of life! Luckily these skills are trainable and will accelerate our personal growth.
Use Mindfulness to Accept the Unknown
When life feels dramatic, for many of us, our first response is to either avoid the problem or seek out something that feels good to distract from the discomfort. Though these strategies may seem to work for a short period of time, they usually do not sustain. Practicing mindfulness can help us to turn towards the chaos rather than running away from it. When you find yourself in disarray, it’s the perfect time to learn how to practice mindfulness throughout the day. Imagine that you had the power to remain in the eye of a swirling storm. Inside, there is calm, stillness and equanimity while outside the winds whip and the storm rages. You sit in the middle, watching the movement of energy surrounding you without becoming off-centered. To arrive to this place, practice pausing, taking a deep breath and observing without judgement the details of your moment-to-moment experience. It may be simple but the most challenging part is remembering to do it! Turning towards meditation apps, or setting a space in your home where you can sit quietly can be helpful reminders. By carefully turning the attention towards the body, mind and emotions, you can see the ways that you may be perpetuating chaos with your attitude. When you do this you can see that chaos is a mental state and can
choose a different way.
Find your Ground with Gratitude Practice
As author Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. A situation that may feel overwhelming and chaotic will appear differently if you shift to a curious, open perspective. By adapting this attitude, it will be easier to see what is present that you can be grateful for. Sit for a moment with the acknowledgement that your body is alive and breathing, or realize that you have access to clean water simply because of where you were born, or perhaps take a moment to bring to mind a community that supports you. In this way we zoom out the camera lens of our life and learn how to see the bigger picture.
If you can cultivate the attitude of gratitude and use that lens as you observe the chaos of life, it will inspire the questions, “What is here that I am not seeing?” and “What can I learn from this situation?” or “How can this experience help me become a better version of myself?”. Journaling on these questions is a helpful way to process the answers and connect to your intuition. Perhaps like Cézanne, embrace the chaos of your life. Look at your life as a messy and beautiful work of art, a rainbow of experiences. If you magnify one portion, it may just look like one or two colors, but when you step back, you can observe how the colors complement and complete each other. Perfect in its imperfection!
Share an affirmation that helps you stay centered with the Till community!
Image by: Billy Cedeno