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Soulful Sundays: Chaos

"The truth is not always beautiful, nor are beautiful words always the truth." -Lao Tzu

There exists deep in the soul of every human a deep and inescapable truth...that total and complete obliteration is not only possible, but unavoidable. We don't know when it will occur or how, but each and every one of us faces the reality of death. Death is the great equalizer. All living beings must come to an end.

Yet most of us live in a kind of protective bubble to this destruction. As a species we have erected religions, dogmas, and legacies to guard our psyches, promising everlasting life after death. We have defended these castles to the bitter end. But what if we didn't have to run from this truth? What if we didn't have to fight it? What if by surrendering to the chaos, we could become stronger and more permanent?

Chaos describes the random nature of existence. The reality that you are currently perceiving is the result of an unfathomable number of random events that have occurred in sequence to produce the phenomenon of this very sentence. You are simultaneously the least likely thing to exist and the only thing that could exist. Trippy, huh?

When we accept that chaos -- the unknown, the unknowable -- is the force that created us, then we can begin to find peace in letting it into our lives. We open up to new possibilities instead of avoiding them out of hand. By leaning into uncomfortable situations we learn about ourselves and others. Sometimes it feels like we are in the hurricane's eye. A place of calm amongst the cacophony. This is what working with chaos is all about.

Chaos cannot be controlled, only prepared for. We prepare by having at least one backup plan in case the universe behaves differently than expected. We also remain vigilant in establishing systems to help guide us through the storm, but not overly loyal to systems that don't work. We remain flexible and focused at the same time. These skills are a delicate balancing act, but can be honed by taking on more challenges -- much like taking your first step as a toddler involved taking the risk of falling.

To embrace chaos we must accept the risks involved. There is no guarantee that facing the unknown will turn out well, but the alternative is worse. The alternative is stagnation, being frozen by fear and unable to act in the world. A daily challenge of my own is to do something that scares me. So often the things that we are avoiding out of fear are the ones that will bring us the most reward. As we become more comfortable with facing our fears, we transform chaos into an ally and not an enemy. And what a force it can be.

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