Relaxing with Chaos

Relaxing(rəˈlaks) with Chaos

By Leo Babauta

There’s a big part of us that doesn’t like chaos: we want order and simplicity(simˈplisədē) and feeling like we’re on top of things and doing things the “right” way.

And so when things feel chaotic(kāˈädik), we scramble(ˈskrambəl) for some kind of stability:

When someone is upset with us, we might not like the feeling of being judged and the uncertainty about how people see us, and so we might lash(laSH) out at them or spin(spin) around a story for days about how terrible that person is.
When plans don’t go how we hoped they would, we feel like we’re on unsteady(ˌənˈstedē) ground, and we start criticizing(ˈkridəˌsīz) ourselves or feeling like we’re doing things wrong and things are out of control, and it might bring a lot of stress in our lives.

Do you relate(rəˈlāt) to any of these examples? In fact, the uncertainty of our chaotic lives is perhaps the main cause of our anxiety, stress, frustration, self-doubt, fears, procrastination, distraction and more.

We know when we’re feeling this chaos when we’re reaching for a new tool, system, method, tactic(ˈtaktik), plan, expert, book on a topic … or our phones.

There is nothing wrong with any of these things. It’s just how we normally respond to chaos.

But if we could relax in the middle of that chaos, it could do so much for us:

We would be OK with the feeling of overwhelm, and not need to panic or feel bad.
We would simply take the next step.
We could focus on one thing at a time.JKH

And much, much more.

The training is to learn to relax with chaos. And from that place, decide on the next simple step.