Finding Clarity in Chaos
Do you ever wonder how your life got so busy?
How you got to where you are and whether or not you are really living the life you were meant to live, or merely going through the motions?
Perhaps you have been on autopilot for many years and aren’t even sure how time has flown by as fast as it has, but you are starting to see your life getting shorter and shorter.
I can say with almost certainty that most people, at least once in their lives, if not several times, have pondered these things. Why is it everything can be going perfectly smooth one minute and the next you experience complete chaos and wonder what it is all worth anyway?
Sometimes clarity and perspective get lost in the game of life and become non-existent to the point you feel stuck, tired, and terrified that nothing will ever change and you will never do what it is you really want.
But what is it you “really” want?
Have you ever consciously thought about it for more than a couple of exhausted seconds where you have come to your wits end with your current day to day, and the dream of living on a beach in complete solitude enters your mind.
How long does that vision last?
Often we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that we forget to slow down, take a breath, and re-evaluate where we are and what we want. Sometimes it can be years before you finally sit back and say;
How did I get here? Am I happy?
How do we do this when our minds are constantly stimulated with technology and human interaction? The simplest answer is; you just do.
I know finding time for yourself isn’t always easy, but like Tony Robbins says, if you don’t have ten minutes a day for yourself; you don’t have a life. I truly believe this in that, if you don’t have at least ten minutes a day to invest in your self; you will never be able to give your best to anyone.
I want to encourage you to take at least ten minutes a day to exercise either one or several of the following. These are all things I do to stay grounded and if you give it an honest effort; you can’t lose.
Lately, my life has been chaotic, and I have had to practice these things each day to remind myself that one bad day, or one stressful day (even several), does not equal a perpetual life of turmoil.
1. Contemplate your past and present — and take a moment to accept “what is” and “what has been.” I wouldn’t suggest this one if I haven’t had to work through it myself and if I didn’t wholeheartedly believe it. For more on that, you can check out my story at www.newnormal.me.
I am not saying it’s easy to accept some of the hardships and tragedy that many people have had to experience, but when you sit back and think about it; can you ever move forward in a positive direction if you don’t accept what was and what is?
The more you practice acceptance, the easier it will become to start moving towards a more authentic life and one in which you feel fulfillment, not just one of exhaustion and dread.
Sometimes this practice requires help from others and sometimes from professionals, but I promise you; no matter what you have been through, life can always be beautiful again.
It won’t be the same as it once was, but it can be beautiful.
It took me a long time to accept this, but when I did, my entire life changed.
2. Spend time alone — Not everyone enjoys being the social butterfly, but for those who do, it can sometimes be a challenge finding comfort while alone. If this is you, I strongly recommend you work on this.
Even just for ten minutes a day. Time spent alone can be great for gaining clarity. When I say alone, I mean without your cell phone.
Whether it’s ten minutes a day, dinner or a movie solo, or a road trip that lasts three weeks, the more you can practice being by yourself the more you will get to know yourself in ways you never knew you could.
I plan to write an article about this topic soon as I have learned to become very comfortable with my own company, and it has changed my life for the better in so many ways.
3. Listen, Feel, and See the Signs — whether you believe in God, the Universe or some other spiritual belief such as Buddism, or whether you are a full-blown atheist; everyone feels and sees signs that can make them stop in their tracks for a moment, create chills down their spine, or simply place a smile on their face.
Listen, feel, and see the signs. If you get excited about the thought of doing something and you can’t stop thinking about it — DO IT. If you have a moment of weakness and then a sudden light in the sky changes your mood — FEEL IT. If you have been wondering how to fix a problem that has been causing you agony and you somehow have a moment of peace when you decide to let it be — LET IT BE.
Humans are the worst at listening to their thoughts, feeling their feelings, and seeing their signs. Things are always happening around us, and sometimes things are happening for us; even when it doesn’t feel like it.
If there is one thing that can help you gain perspective and clarity in this fast-moving world, it’s allowing yourself to be more in tune with yourself and your surroundings. How many times have you driven home in rush hour traffic, only to get there and say, “how the hell did I get home, I don’t remember any of that trip?”.
We are on autopilot, and the better you can become at practicing self-analysis and taking note of those moments you feel at peace or inspired; the sooner you will gain clarity on what you “really” want and what fills your soul up, rather than always focusing on what leaves you feeling depleted.
If there is something you can’t stop thinking about and it brings you excitement along with a little bit of fear, I am quite confident in saying it’s probably something you should be giving more attention to.
4. Give yourself time — When you set out to find clarity, give yourself time. Don’t always expect revelations to come to you in an instant. One trip to the forest alone may not inspire you to quit your 9–5 job, but making trips to the forest alone (just an example), a habitual activity may eventually free up your mind for more discovery and creativity.
This is so important to remember.
Good things don’t always happen overnight but as long as you are making a conscious effort to make quality time with yourself a priority, you are moving in a forward direction. Any positive movement forward should be treated as a win. Don’t give up because the answers aren’t coming to you right away, give yourself time.
5. Don’t be afraid to take the road less traveled — as you begin your journey to finding clarity you may find yourself doing things that others find odd or “selfish.”
Do not be afraid to be unordinary.
When I decided to take a trip solo after the death of my fiance, people thought I was nuts. These opinions were based on their own fears and discomfort, and I had to take the advice of people with a grain of salt. Many were just looking out for me, but others were clearly appalled that I would want to take a holiday alone. It was the best decision I ever made, and if I had listened to the majority, I never would have gone.
I am not suggesting you go on a solo holiday but whatever it is you decide, remember, not everyone will agree or think it’s the best thing for you. You are the only one who knows whats best for you, so your opinion is the only one that matters.
6. If you found out you were going to die in the next year, what would you do?
I say a year because one day isn’t long enough to truly contemplate this.
Listen up, I have experienced what it feels like to watch someone I love “run out of time.”
I knew all of his dreams and all of his goals, and I spent countless hours “talking” about all of them with him. I watched him run out of time when he died suddenly at the age of thirty years old.
It was the worst and the best thing that ever happened to me.
Let me explain.
Here I was building a life with someone one minute and the next minute he was gone. I had the rudest awakening of my life, but through that, I learned what was important and what was not.
Take some time to really sit back and think about what would be important if you were told you were going to die in the next year. What would you do? What regrets would you have? What would you have wished you had done? What could you still do?
What stresses would now seem trivial?
Tackle this emotional contemplation with an honest approach. I guarantee once you really gather your thoughts, wipe your tears, and see that life is so prescious; you will gain clarity and a new perspective on how fragile your life is.
Take this one seriously, as much as I hate to admit it, you and I are just as susceptible to our own mortality as the next.
7. Love yourself — even at your worst — While going through the process of discovering clarity and developing a new perspective, remember to be gentle with yourself on the days that aren’t as “successful.”
I have said this a million times before and I will say it a million more; we are not perfect, and everyone has off days.
Don’t get stuck there.
Be kind to yourself, take a few deep breaths, and start again tomorrow with a new and refreshed attitude.
There are things in “ALL” our lives we are not proud of and moments we would love to forget, DO NOT be so hard on yourself.
What’s done is done, and you can only move forward. Moving backward is useless, time-consuming, and emotionally damaging.
You can accept where you are now while at the same time working towards better.
Even though we have no control over the future, and we can make all the plans in the world only to have them ripped away from us in an instant; does not mean you should settle with a life you are not in love with.
I will leave you with this;
“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey” -Roy T. Bennett.