Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Chaos Theory II

I feel I have to take another run at this chaos theory of mine.

I have definitely discovered what was bothering me so much - all of this uncertainty, this not knowing. It took me straight back to my childhood and that was a place that I didn’t want to re-visit anytime soon.

So that’s the what.

I guess the question remaining is - why? Why have I given up stability and security to live in uncertainty?

I remember trying to start my own business in the past. Dozens of times. At the very first whiff of doubt and indecision, the first time stability took off running down the road, I tucked my tail between my legs and ran home to the man. Security was mine once again in the comforting blanket of 9-5. I knew deep down inside, that I was not a risk-taker. I did not have what it takes.

But that burning feeling in my stomach refused to go away.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my backpacking trip across Europe. Now there’s chaos and uncertainty for you. You have yourself and whatever you’re carrying on your back and that’s it. You need to get up every morning, find a place to stay, find food to eat, get the most out of the city you’re in, stay safe, have fun and do it all over again the next day.

There were some pretty hard moments. I remember crying on the phone to my best friend…I was tired, I was hungry, I was scared….but I remember asking her, “I’ll remember the good times, won’t I? I’ll remember the good times more that I’ll remember the bad times, right?”

And I was right. I remember my last fearful moment. I was somewhere in Italy - Verona, I think. Riding in a small van with other backpackers to get to the local hostel. The area was run down, the streets didn’t look safe. It was not the pretty part of Italy. I was getting nervous, wondering what the hell I was getting myself in to.

It didn’t improve much when we pulled up to the hostel. It was a ruin - literally. There were large holes where the walls should have been. I took my gear and went up to the reception to check in. I remember that my bangs were in need of a trim, so I asked the man at the desk for a pair of scissors. I must have looked depressed because he asked me if I was going to do myself in with the scissors.

Sighing deeply, I took my dull scissors and went up to my room. I dropped my backpack and went exploring. The hostel had a central stone courtyard that everything seemed to be built around. Looking up I saw clothes hanging from lines running out of the windows. I dejectedly sat down in an archway on a stone step.

As I planned how to get out of this place, I heard a baby cry in the distance. I slowly raised my head and started to notice my surroundings. As the baby cried, I smelled the sweetness of the wind. I began to notice the greens of the grass and the plants. The architecture of the building was stunning. It must have been ancient, yet it still stood, battered but not beaten.

Something about this place began to speak to me. In its silence, it insisted that I see what was right in front of me. Something changed in me then, my fear fell away. I connected to the rhythm and the flow of the universe. I just relaxed, I just breathed. There was no yesterday, there was no tomorrow. There was only now, this moment, and it was glorious.

So many magical moments happened after that. If I was in need, I just relaxed and opened myself up to the possibilities. And something always came my way. It’s a powerful feeling, living in the moment and using almost pure instinct to drive you, to move you, to choose your direction. To stop, take a moment, ask yourself what you need and sit quietly in contemplation until the answer becomes clear.

In a nutshell, that seems to be what I’m striving for now. I say I’m having my mid-life crisis. But lets face it, I’m way past the mid-way mark. Not much chance of me making it to 88. So there is precious little time left.

I’m looking to slow down and listen better to what the universe has to say to me, to reconnect to its magical rhythm. I feel it’s trying to tell me something, to send me in a certain direction.

I need to listen now. I need to see. I need to be.

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