We often find ourselves on a never-ending quest for order and structure in our lives. We want everything neatly organized, perfectly planned, and streamlined. But what if I told you that sometimes, chaos is not the enemy? In fact, it's the essential precursor to true order.
We were watching Season One of Ahsoka, a Star Wars spin-off, when one of the characters, an evil Jedi, said something profound. He said that it was often necessary to destroy in order to create something better. It sounds extreme, but it reminded me of my mother’s words when I was a child. We were cleaning out one of the many cupboards in our house. My stepfather commented on the mess we were making instead of tidying up. My mother said words to this effect “You have to create chaos before you can create order”.
This has stuck with me and can be applied to so many aspects of life. Take the renovation of our forever home in Ireland, for example. We bought the house in 2020 and were only lucky enough to snaffle it up because we could settle immediately, whereas another buyer had to wait until the summer. Well, COVID 19 got in the way, and we didn’t end up settling until the summer anyway, but that’s another story!
We settled in July 2020 and no sooner had the email confirming our purchase been received, Ewen hightailed it across the Irish Sea to start the process of turning what was an overgrown, derelict mess into a work of art - or more precisely, a home we can live in.
It’s not finished yet, so we’re still in the chaos stage, although we have pockets of order to keep us sane. With this thought, and because I’m still living it, today’s blog will focus on how we go about creating order amidst the chaos.
1. Embracing the Chaos
Before we could even begin the renovation, Ewen had to clear around the outside of the house, and a bit of the front garden, just so that he could see what needed to be done inside the house. Cutting down the trees, pulling down ivy, and levelling the driveway cleared the way for him to get inside the house to determine his next moves. Seeing the house in all its derelict glory, and the chaos within, actually helped him. It seemed like madness, but he gained a deeper understanding of what he had to work with, and what he’d need to get the job done. He learned that there was going to be a lot more to this renovation project than we had first imagined.
The same principle applies to life. When things get a little chaotic, whether it's in our careers, relationships, or our personal growth, it's an opportunity to gain clarity. Chaos can force us to reevaluate our priorities and question the status quo.
2. Sorting Through the Pieces
Now that Ewen could see what he was faced with, it was time to take stock of the steps, to sort through what was already in the house, what he already had, and then to plan what he’d need to get the job done. This step may be daunting, but it's where the magic happens. Now Ewen’s not one for writing lists and sorting into piles, etc, but I know started to evaluate what he could use (not a lot), what he could throw away (so much) and what he would need to obtain in order to make a start. He began to create order amidst the chaos.
In life, this is the phase where we start making decisions, setting goals, and taking action. The chaos has revealed what needs to stay, what should go, and what requires our attention. This sorting process is where we begin to create a new order that better aligns with our aspirations.
3. Find Your Own Flow
This step is still ongoing for our renovation. We are reorganising our life to fit in with this new lifestyle. You need to believe me when I say that this life we have chosen is not for everyone. We are of like mind in that we can see the end goal and are extremely happy to live amidst our chaos while the dust settles, so to speak.
However, as we continue to work on the house, we restore one light fitting, one window ledge, one wallpapered wall at a time. But we’re not just restoring the home to its former glory. We are gradually creating a new and improved order, putting our own unique stamp on it. Our house reflects our style and our preferences. We have found our flow.
In life, the chaos-before-order journey helps us find our own flow. It's about discovering what works best for each of us individually and what truly matters. Chaos is the catalyst for this revelation.
4. Appreciating the Beauty
Although I essentially work from home, there are times when my day job takes me away. And while a change is as good as a holiday, or so they say, I am always grateful to come home. My heart sings as my house comes into view and I am so happy to be home. I know Ewen feels the same. We have lived in many different places, and I have always enjoyed being home. However, the joy from arriving home to my home in Ireland is by far the strongest.
My takeaway from this is that we appreciate that which we have worked for and on – which is probably a different subject! As I stand back and admire my partially renovated home, and enjoy each new improvement, I realise that it’s not just about tidiness, or even a job well done; it's about the beauty of order. The chaos we create leads to an appreciation for what we have and how we've chosen to arrange it.
In life, too, there's beauty in the order that follows chaos. You've embraced the mess, sorted through the pieces, and found your unique rhythm. The resulting order isn't just about structure; it's about fulfilment, growth, and authenticity.
5. Last Word
We must not be afraid to shake things up once in a while. However, we must embrace the chaos, for it is the canvas upon which we can create the masterpiece of our lives. Order is beautiful, but it wouldn't be half as meaningful without the chaos that precedes it. Remember, in the messiest moments, you're laying the foundation for your most beautiful creations.
Here's to the chaos, the order, and the ever-ongoing journey of self-discovery. Embrace it all, and watch the magic unfold.