It has been said on a number of occasions and by a variety of people that aspects of my life are chaotic. Is it chaos when the baby is crying and the boys are playing tag inside? Is it chaos when my breakfast bar is covered in toys? Is it chaos when we’re organizing ourselves to get in the car?
I always feel the gut clench of judgement when someone uses that word. Perhaps because what I’m seeing does not match the label. Perhaps because the word ‘chaos’ carries with it such negative connotations. Perhaps because I am coming to recognize that it is by living in this so called ‘chaos’ that we are actually learning and growing. Perhaps it is just other people’s way to ‘deal’ with our life choices which don’t fit into conventional boxes. When things aren’t ‘normal’ (whatever that is) then we seek to box it, label it, or in some way contain it – to create ‘order.’ This response to difference offers us the illusion of control.
Reflecting on what most people view as chaos, but that which is actually bursting with vibrancy, I am reminded a forest garden. When we first started to convert our property, we were met with many comments of disapproval and warning. Amidst the manicured lawns and flower gardens of our town, we stick out. Our garden is messy. It is unruly. It is thriving. The roots run deep. Our plants have been carefully selected and don’t require fertilizers, watering, or much intervention at all for that matter. Our systems self-sustain because of careful planning and forethought.
Nature gracefully soldiers on, without needing to be corrected. Isn’t it when we try to contain or control natural chaos that we run into problems. Weeds grow because they are given the opportunity to, because a space has been left for them. The problem isn’t that there are too many weeds, the problem is that there aren’t enough plants.