All of my life, I have heard that when cats fall, they always land on their feet. I never tested the theory, but I wonder if it is true and whether this tidbit about cats is part of understanding a greater truth about life. Regardless of how wildly I spin through my own universe–regardless of how many times I flip and flail through the air–and regardless of how far I manage to fall, I always seem to land on my feet, too. When I finally learned to believe that things in life do tend to work out, I became calmer in simply living.
I am the children’s storyteller at my local library. Every week, I have to pick a theme to explore in books, and I prepare a craft to go with the books. I have been doing this job for 13 years now, and it has gotten to the point that at the end of every week’s story, I feel that I have exhausted every new idea for a book and craft. For a few minutes, I am cast into an anxious pit, “What if this is the end of new book and craft ideas? What if I cannot think of something new to do?”
But I always do think of something new to do. The answer, my friend, seems to blow in my wind.
This morning, I walked outside and I saw my first bee of the season. It was sucking nectar from a purple flower, and it came to me: Bees–this week, I’ll read books and do a craft about bees. Not a moment too soon, but still in time, the answer came to me–and the beauty of the situation is that this happens to me week after week. Now, I do not pretend that solving the Bee-for-Story-Hour dilemma was a great feat, but it does support my basic premise that worrying about what I would do for Story Hour would not have solved my problem. The problem solved itself in time.
Worry is like a rocking chair. It requires a lot of work, and it gets you nowhere.
At times in my life, I have been a worrier. In fact, I still find myself being anxious too much of the time, but I am getting better. In my observation, worriers have a lot of fear. Sometimes we cannot tell who in society is overly anxious and who is not. Some people who worry a lot are extremely successful in business and they seem to have everything in control, but beneath a control freak’s facade, there lies a fear that at any moment, his entire world is going to implode.
Among other things, control freaks are perfectionists and are afraid of making mistakes.
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
Perfectionists are control freaks who are terrified of loosening up the reins with which they grip the events of their lives moment-to-moment, day-in-day-out. Control freaks micromanage everything about themselves. It must be exhausting.
The good news is that all of that control is not necessary. A little chaos is actually a good thing.
It will not surprise many that creative people live more chaotically than non-creative people. They are messier.
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign? ” – Einstein
The control freak would look down upon the creatives’ chaos, thinking that they are weaker than they and that they simply cannot hold it together.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein
In reality, it is the creative [his chaos and all] who should question those who cannot function without absolute order.
“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
While the orderly are excellent at attending to facts in their limited constructs, the creatives are the ones who invent those constructs. Without the inventiveness of the chaotic creative, the orderly businessman would have nothing to sell.
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein
Invention is a chaotic business.
“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.” ― Mary Shelley
Inventing requires a process of free-fall during which ideas spin and twist and contort and finally land on their feet.
“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” – Albert Einstein
But as I said before, that period of free-falling is scary to the control freaks. In fact, it scares them so very much that they do everything possible to tighten a grip on the free thinkers–those who challenge the status quo–those who rock their worlds.
“Chaos is what we’ve lost touch with. This is why it is given a bad name. It is feared by the dominant archetype of our world, which is Ego, which clenches because its existence is defined in terms of control.”
― Terence McKenna
There is no doubting the fact that chaos and creativity work hand-in-hand.
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
I write a great deal about the importance of the intuition when creating. The artist straddles an unsaddled and unbridled piece of life and by following their intuitions, they paint or sculpt
or they write:
“Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spend the rest of the day putting the pieces together.”
― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
I write to help manage the chaos in my own life. Let me emphasize that I only try to manage my chaos now, and I don’t try to starch and press all of the life out of it. I know that it is through chaos that my muse contacts me. I know that some of the things that I write and some of the things that I paint come through me and not from me.
On Silver Sheets, I Sail
by Jacki Kellum
Just before I open my eyes
I float along the misty skies.
I reach, I feel the soft, white hair
and fairy wings that flutter there.
I listen, I hear the slumber song,
The angel band that plays along
My dreams are in my pillow-pail.
On silver sheets, I sail.
Copyright Jacki Kellum December 16, 2015
Bottom line: My best work happens when I simply let go of the wheel and sail with whatever is happening within me. When I try to control the wheel and when I drop anchor at the first sign of choppy water, Jacki-in-control does the work, and it is weak. When I manage to go with the flow, something greater within me creates, and that is where my art begins.
“Chaos was the law of nature; Order was the dream of man.” ― Henry Adams, The Education of Henry Adams
©Jacki Kellum Mary 9, 2016