Thursday, June 2, 2011

chaos

I've finally resurfaced from a reclusive writing period. At the end of May - after weeks of seemingly endless computer work, I turned in over 200 pages worth of writing. It is such a relief to finally have that behind me (now if only that writing project was my dissertation... then I would be close to being done with my degree. But no...). As stressful as it was, I welcomed the challenge. I didn't quite welcome the stress (and its associated neck and shoulder pain, achy wrists and back, throbbing eyelids, etc) with open arms, though. But I have to say that at the end of the project, I felt pretty proud of myself!

As much as I enjoy (and need) writing in a leisurely manner, like on this blog, somehow I just didn't feel like there was any more space in my brain. So leisure writing and journalling certainly took a backseat. Instead I churned out pages of research and other academic "stuff". It was definitely a process... of saying "yes" to the challenge, from starting from a blank page to one page, two pages, several... seeing the process of how it slowly took shape. I found myself reaching towards yoga in the process - especially the principles of practice and non-attachment. I knew, that if I were to take on this endeavor, I had to detach myself from the very high stakes involved, from the result, and instead just commit myself to writing. Because high stakes = pressure. Interestingly, I'm not sure how "acceptable" this concept of non-attachment is in the workplace and in a product/outcome-oriented world. When I mentioned this to my superior -- about how I would just write and let go of the outcome (in different words) -- I think she misunderstood me and thought that I was not going to give my 100%. But I did - 100% and then some. Because I was so overwhelmed by this project in the beginning, I just had to detach myself from thinking about the result in order to just take that step forward and do it. Hmm. Makes me think about how I should maybe keep some thoughts to myself and out of the work environment.

Now that the project is done, the question that has been on my mind is, what if the thing/activity/work that you love is also a stressor?

I read an article somewhere (wish I could remember the source) in which the author wrote about how sometimes we unconsciously seek more drama (stress, chaos, deadlines, etc...) in our lives, and behave in such a way that we end up having more of that. Could this be true? Do I really seek more stress in my life, and if I do, why?

That line of thinking portrays chaos as something negative... and then I remembered that I have a magnet that reads: "One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." (Nietzsche)

I love that. I think it explains this state of being. Chaos (i.e., challenge, stress, etc) will always be there. Even if it comes from something (or someone) you love. I'm not a parent, but I would guess that parenting is like that - yes, it's stressful, but it involves someone you love so dearly. It involves someone that matters so much. And in my world, my work matters to me. I love what I do, stressful as it is. So it's how we deal with it - it's what we do with that chaos. Because it's the chaos that pushes us to evolve, to adapt, to create...if, within that chaos, we can come to a place of stillness and focus. If we can gather all that chaotic energy and somehow transform it - to "give birth to a dancing star." (or in my world, 250 pages of work)

Perhaps chaos isn't a bad thing after all. How do you transform the chaos in your life?

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4 comments:

Anne said...

really good post!

i think that it's not that what you love is the stressor itself. the stressful part is the journey. however, there are probably ways to reduce the stress during the journey.

i relate this to wanting to clean house for example. instead of not having a plan and going all over the place, i can make it less stressful by choosing to do 1 room at a time.

but i agree to what you quoted from the article that we do unconsciously seek more drama sometimes. but i think that happens when one feels so overwhelmed with one's situation and end up focusing on that feeling instead of the solution. or what one can control. what is it "they" say? thoughts become things ... something like that.

Mia said...

"Thoughts become things". Hmmm, I like that... this is giving me more to think about! Thanks, Anne. :)

Faith said...

I love dance and need it in my life. Even more, I love choreography and the act of creating dances but recently this commissioned project has been weighing heavy on my mind. I'm too attached to the outcome! That is exactly the problem! While the outcome is important, and essentially what I am being paid for, the process is the reason I accepted the offer. Thanks for the reminder.
Also, I totally create chaos and drama in my life. One of the first reasons I fell in love with my husband was because he wouldn't feed my need for conflict or drama; he truly prefers life and love chaos free! And now I do too (although old habits die hard if you know what I mean).

Mia said...

Hi Faith! Thanks for reading and for your comment. I get what you mean! Such a delicate balance between "practice" and "non-attachment" - to commit ourselves enough to a task/project/goal but not too much that we make ourselves unhealthy! (which I seem to have a tendency to do, unfortunately).
Amazing though how we choose partners who are not exactly like us, but complement or balance our personalities- my husband too is not like me - thank goodness or else we'll drive ourselves crazy! He's my stable, grounding force for my distractible, hands-in-too-many-pots self. :)
Interesting, what you said about creating chaos - well, there must be something good coming out of it, with your many productive projects I read about in your blog!
Ah, a delicate balance - "organized chaos", if there is such a thing!

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