Chaos: The Great Teacher

We cannot control one hundred percent of the events in our lives, but we can control our reactions to them. We cannot guarantee that our loved ones-or that we ourselves–will always be healthy, nor can we predict our financial future or job success. But no matter what curve balls knock us for a loop, we can master our response to these events. To me the only safety net we truly have is how we act and react to what life serves up.

This is how chaos becomes the great teacher–we learn in the midst of a crisis just how strong we really are. Sometimes we find more inner resources than we give ourselves credit for; other times we discover our vulnerabilities. Often when we embark on a new enterprise–a business, a relationship, a creative project–we find surprising reserves of energy and enthusiasm that enable us to achieve that first heady feeling of success.

Then one day we wake up and feel less passion and drive. We may notice that they’re relying on unhealthy lifestyle choices to sustain us–too many lattes and hi-cal snacks by day and more than a social drink to unwind at night. We can get away with these habits for a while, but eventually these crutches will age us before our time. The minute we realize that we’re using quick fixes (Starbucks anyone?) just to get through our daily routine, it’s time to reevaluate and catch up with ourselves.

Why is managing chaos and stress such a hot topic today? Because most of us need permission to slow down and really pay attention to our own needs. Many of us push ourselves into sixty-hour work weeks while raising our families, taking classes, keeping fit, trying to look young, and winning the occasional award. We go, go, go, but do we know where we are going? Someone once said, “If life is a race, then the finish line is the graveyard.”

One of the chief indicators of chaos is a body that feels out of alignment. When we go into crisis mode, the body’s homeostasis is thrown off balance. This may manifest itself in the form of neck pain, headaches, digestive problems, chronic back or shoulder aches, fatigue or depression. And a body chronically out of balance will eventually succumb to heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity, and digestive problems.

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