May | HUMANITY
Starting from Scratch: Finding Beauty in Chaos and Other Humanitarian Actions
By Tricia Stewart Shiu
“My Heart” – Oystein Sevåg
“When you are surviving you can’t dream” — Michael Ketterer: Father of 6 scores Golden Buzzer from Simon Cowell — America’s Got Talent 2018
ARTISTIC ALLEGORY | LE MOT JUSTE
No matter how old anyone is or where they live in the world, one word seems to sum up the collective experience: chaos.
It’s almost like political, personal and universal issues are coming to a head and everyone is feeling the tension.
The tools that used to work perfectly in emotionally charged situations, suddenly and seemingly without warning, have totally lost their effectiveness. In fact, for many of us, a new way of approaching, viewing, and behaving is not just necessary, but imperative.
This sense of urgency around addressing this chaotic experience, is palpable and reflected in every presidential address, commentary, art show, Academy Award acceptance speech and Standing Rock showdown.
Despite our desire to make “something” of this “mess,” many of us are frozen in inaction.
The very concept of chaos pulls together two diametrically opposed points of view—a deeply personal issue and a globally objective one. Both issues are urgent and volatile and addressing them—together or separately—seems both absurd and impossible. The insurmountable idea of overcoming or “handling” this chaos brings to mind images of “herding cats“ or “holding back a wall of water.”
Not only that, but where humans are involved, emotions are sure to follow. Focusing on logistics or statistics in designing a solution, will miss the boat on an emotional, spiritual or ethereal level. On the other hand, by focusing on just the individual and the emotional components, key elements, that are broader and constructive, could possibly be overlooked.
The good news is, historically, when chaos happens, revolution is not far behind. As our dissatisfaction with whatever event is causing us discomfort—or even pain—grows, so does our desire and need for change.
Chaos also has a way of bringing people together, that might—at first glance—have otherwise been overlooked.
Chaos is, “The Great Equalizer.” Topics that would normally cause division and defensiveness around politics, religion and other potentially charged subject matters, can shift dramatically when our personal safety or freedom is involved.
There could even be healing deep within those personally challenging scenarios, if we allow it. Life challenges allow us to go deeper, within ourselves, to find our own stability. In the eyes of Rudyard Kipling, keeping “…your head while all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,” could be a marker for adulthood and even become a corner stone for peace and self-care.
Dr. Michael Lennox, noted psychologist, dream and astrology expert, mentioned the following in a recent post, “…when we are operating at a higher level of perception, when both our lower and higher octaves of the Mind are tuned to a higher frequency, then we can move with more grace and ease, because even though we feel unstable, we recognize that we are creating this entire experience, the good and the seemingly bad. When lived in this way, you can move through life knowing that even when life appears to be chaotic and treacherous, ultimately, all is well.”
When emotions are involved, sometimes it can be tough to “rise above” and connect, civilly, with people who have differing ideas from our own. Though out history, however, many well-known people, have managed to do define friendships outside the bounds of belief systems and judgements. Senator John McCain (R) and Senator Ted Kennedy (D) are famous for their vehement arguments on the Senate floor and their strong friendship away from the capital. Former presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were also close friends.
So, why is it such a challenge, right now? Perhaps it’s generational. “In-person is way easier to be civil than online.” says 16-year-old Violet. According to Violet, “in-person civil conversations seem to flow better and people seem to get along better but, behind a screen, people lose all sense of manners.”
“The online atmosphere is really hostile.” adds Sydney (15)
“With our current political climate . . . ” Violet continues, “it offers a platform for people to showcase their racism and sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, etc. Meanwhile, people on the other side of the argument, feel it’s, more so, their duty than ever, to fight back against this bigotry.”
It’s interesting to note, that teens, today, grew up with the war in Afghanistan running constantly in the background, which could certainly color anyone’s view of the definition of chaos or how to handle it. Moreover, these young people have never known a time without the exponentially rising threat of school shootings.
As heartbreaking as the news and events of the day can be, action begins from within.
Perhaps the best advice, comes from Brooke Hampton, Founder of the Barefoot Five cyber-tribe: “We are being pulled in a thousand different directions; somehow, it’s all urgent, and it’s all important. Decide where you put your energy or the chaos will decide for you. It’s just a dance of dreams. Take a deep breath and choose. Learn how to lead, baby!”
It is also imperative in chaos, to learn how to relax . . .