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Can Problems, Challenges & Chaos in Your Life Actually be a Gift?

Can Problems, Challenges & Chaos in Your Life Actually be a Gift?

“If you need something from somebody always give that person a way to hand it to you.” – Sue Monk Kidd

Here’s a quick question for you…

Has there ever been any period in your life where things were difficult, painful, where you experienced what seemed like more than your share of problems, things seemed wacky, or even felt chaotic? For most of us the answer is a definite YES! For some, these periods of chaos are shorter and less painful than for others – but we all seem to have these periods of time where we experience pain or chaos. It just seems to be part of this experience we call life.

Not always, but very often, it’s out of the painful moments and chaos in our lives that we find the impetus to create a better life for ourselves. It might have been leaving a dissatisfying, dead-end job for a much better one. It might have been leaving a relationship that didn’t work out and moving on to a more loving one – or it might have been any number of other “disasters” that turned into blessings.

For the two of us, we’ve had several chaotic periods in our lives and one of the most painful was when our previous marriages ended. What we’ve both discovered is that what emerged from the chaos of the experience of our previous marriages breaking up was the vision of what we wanted in an intimate relationship and what we have been able to create with each other.

While neither one of us is a scientist, we’ve been studying people who talk about something called the “chaos theory.” This theory is about seemingly random, chaotic events that turn your life upside down where the growth happens within you and your life. What does it mean for you and your relationships and life?

What we’re suggesting is that every time life “throws you a curve” and these apparently random, chaotic events happen that knock you off your center, you have a choice to make. You can let the chaos of life knock you out and keep you down OR you can choose to find meaning and order out of these difficult times that spur you into a better life – a life that is more expansive and filled with more of what you want.

Most of us usually try to avoid chaos, disruptions and problems, but problems and chaos (however uncomfortable) is where the growth is. In avoiding dealing with the chaos, we also try to avoid feeling our feelings and usually don’t recognize our resistance to “what is” and “what could be.” We don’t look at the enormous opportunities that can come from changing our attitudes and beliefs about the chaotic times in our lives and we stay stuck.

Here are some ideas that we use during those times that helps us to make sense of what’s happening, change our attitude, and bring “order” to the chaos:

1.  Look at the problem or challenge as an opportunity for learning something new about yourself or your partner. This is sometimes easier said than done but we’ve found that as we are mulling over the situation and searching for an answer, if we just open to seeing what it is that we can learn from it the solutions seem to flow.

2.  Be easy about all of it. Most of the time, the situations that we create are filled with problems or challenges that are not nearly as big or as serious as we make them out to be. Our minds work overtime and we start assuming things that may not be true, creating more chaos in the process. We suggest that you stop your churning mind, bring your attention and love to your heart area, breathe and lighten up.

3.  Bring yourself into the present moment. So often, we stay stuck in what happened in the past and what might happen in the future. We’ve found that if we just deal with our present circumstances, we will soon find a solution to whatever is challenging us. Know that this situation is temporary and will pass.

4.  If possible, find the humor in the situation and find ways to be grateful for what is going “right” in your life. We know from experience that if you focus on gratitude and humor, the uncomfortableness eases and you will attract to you more of what you want instead of what you don’t want.

5.  Find things that you love to do and that bring you joy. Start focusing on the positive aspects of something new, something that you enjoy or that you find pleasurable – even if it’s a very small thing that’s going right in your life like a warm bath. Instead of focusing on your problems and the chaos, if you begin to focus on something more positive, your situation will change.

As you read this, you might be saying to yourself that these ideas sound too easy and too good to be true and that you have real problems and challenges in your relationship and your life that don’t seem to be going away. We agree that life can throw some pretty rough curves from time to time that can seem impossible to move past. We’re saying that these are the perfect times to change your thinking about what chaos and challenges mean in your life and relationships. If there truly is perfect order in the chaos, then you can begin to take some baby steps that will bring you out of your situation and into a better life.  

It seems to be human nature to want to snap our fingers and see all of our challenges and problems disappear. The two of us have discovered that our greatest understandings, growth, and our ability to connect deeper have come from moving through these challenges and not instantly having the situation corrected. While it might seem that life would be easier and certainly more peaceful if we didn’t have to go through these periods of chaos, that’s where we find the greater impetus to move us forward to deeper love, sensuality, connection and understanding of ourselves and each other.

We suggest that you take a fresh, new look at the situations or times where chaos pops up in your life and what you can learn from it. Find order and meaning in it as you are traveling through it and be in gratitude for the amazing journey you are on.

© Susie & Otto Collins. All Rights Reserved.

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