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in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

GSW - The Season of Chaos

Christmas trees and bell ringers greeted me at the grocery store today, as well as larger throngs of people. After all – “Tis the Season.” As I made my way through the grove of trees in front of the entrance and entered the store, there was an immediate sense of chaos. Children were crying and screaming. Most shoppers had that frazzled, bewildered, almost confused look on their faces, as if they were unprepared for another Holiday season already. My how the year has flown. Elderly, white haired, bedraggled looking women were shuffling along as they pushed their grocery carts, many of them with their elderly husbands in tow – obviously bushwhacked into making the trip in preparation for the annual Thanksgiving food fest…

By the time I got done I felt shell shocked, as if *I* had been bushwhacked – or is that ambushed. I was significantly over stimulated by all the noise, people and chaos. I was in dire need of Silence ~~~~. Maybe Sunday’s post arose because I would need to remember what I wrote! That in the midst of chaos, there *is* inner peace - down there somewhere. In the midst of complexity there is simply awareness – if I just notice. And in the midst of confusion there is an innate sense of stability – if I stand still long enough to feel it. Although, what I feel in the moment is a sense of dread. My heels are already beginning to dig in like a child’s first visit to Santa… What do you mean I need to go sit on that big fat man’s lap in the red suit!! No Mom, please!

Sad but true. The Holidays for me hold a lot of memories that feel like finger nails on a chalk board. You know – that edgy feeling. It’s the usual family memories of unresolved, ready to wear, emotional baggage lurking just beneath the surface. I may be the official Scrooge or Gratitude Grinch here, but “The Season” does not fill me with “good cheer”, and Ho-Ho-Ho’s… And as far as I could tell today, it doesn’t for a lot of other people either. It seems for most of us the stocking stuffers this year are stress, tension, confusion, and chaos – you know the little gifts you get to open *before* the big packages.

So – how to maintain equanimity in the Season of Chaos… Today I decided it would be lots and lots of down time, seriously taking care of myself… Now this may sound selfish, but it’s true. The best way for me to get through this is to seriously nurture myself and do things that nurture my body and feed my spirit. Today’s grocery store wisdom reminded me that I haven’t been doing enough of that! Life has been very intense lately and I have not been taking time to just rest in Awareness – to just Be - to deeply relax, let alone do the things I really enjoy. So this is the prescription I’m writing for myself as we enter the marathon season of chaos:

Do only what needs to be done, and don’t let others determine what that is.
Listen to soothing music.
Cloister myself and spend time in silence at least once a day.
Try to be around people who comfort my heart when it is weary.
Limit time with those who don’t.
Relax as much as possible and don’t take anything too seriously.
Accept my feelings, especially scrooge and grinch.
Practice radical non-resistance to what is.
Be authentic.
Stay lighthearted and apply generous doses of humor.
Carry awareness and a heart of wonder in my pocket at all times.
Look for forgotten joys.
Keep perspective.
Remember that even in the chaos “The Mystery” is still there - expressing Itself…

What about you? What is your recipe for getting through “The Season”?


  1. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting so I could come here and read what YOU wrote about equanimity. Yes, there must be something in the air. The pre-holiday frenzy has begun and I (like you) can only take it in very small doses. I set "limits" for myself as you do to do extreme self-care, simplify, lower expectations, do what feels right and true. I did it the "old" way for years and it did take it's toll. Today, equanimity calls and, as you say, peace is always right there, lurking beneath the surface. We just need to excavate it and allow our heart to fill up with its basic goodness. May we all be at ease with ourselves and others.

    (As I visit your site and look around at what you have written, it so often feels like reading my own words. :-) Holy synchronicity....

  2. Wow! I have to say, I feel blessed that I don't have to go out into the chaos...my excuse being I can't drive right now due to MS exacerbation...it's a strange thing to be grateful for, perhaps, but it does give me lots of "down time" to contemplate, meditate, rest and allow what ever feeling arise to show up and be heard. I don't recommend this particular path to serenity for the faint of heart, but it's the one I've been given and so far it's working for me. I know it sounds like I'm being sarcastic (maybe a little) but really, being ill has been a blessing in many ways. I love your prescription for yourself it is beautiful and one everyone should try...much better if it's a choice, not a chronic illness...but you know...you accept what is given with gratitude...well I do.

    Happy ThanksGiving,

  3. Jan ~ Thanks for coming by for a visit :) Interesting how we can just hop around on the blogosphere and knock on each other's doors, leaving our calling cards, and seeing the gifts that we all bring in our writing. I loved the comment you left on your own post - about tenderly holding and cradling our feelings - especially the difficult ones. Please do write about "The Bowl" exercise soon. I'm always looking for new ways to work with these little emotional orphans that keep showing up at my door!

    Laura ~ Yes, I'm sure it is a difficult path for you to be on. Like you, I have discovered that my chronic health issues give me the opportunity to really *see* beyond the physical, beyond my thoughts and feelings *about* what is happening to me physically - to what is always there shining through it all. Not easy, but it is our path - no matter what the challenge. I don't mean that to sound cliche-ish, as "embracing what is" and seeing what is always there holding us, is not for the faint of heart. And it seems like you have discovered a good tool to use with your SoulCollage Cards... I may even give it a try and do one for Grinch and Scrooge :)

    Heart Smiles to you both!

  4. I love your prescription! I've taken a similar path for the season of madness, after dutifully following along, over-spending, over-doing, over-stressing for too many years. And now I can even stress about "dropping out" of the regular holiday routine! But each year I feel a little better, more focused, more peaceful. I still do feel sad at times. Helpless. I want to support all beings, yet mindless consumption is certainly not beneficial. I will be reading your prescription many times this month as a reminder to give the gift of peace and calm from a steadfast heart. Thank you!

  5. Thanks Kris for the heart light you always offer here!

    Yes, it has been hard "dropping out" of the "traditional" ways of "The Season" because others in the family have not. I often feel conflicted about my choices because it doesn't seem to go over very well - like I'm surprised!? And so much of the "giving" seems to be based on expectations and in some cases has become a competition. But I just can't buy into it anymore.

    Now we'll see if I can follow my own prescription! :)

    Heart Smiles to you!