Chaos As An Invitation to Creativity

butterfly-2Creativity is bound up in our ability to find new ways around old problems. – Martin Seligman

What if the chaos we experience in the world today and in our lives is actually an invitation to let go of the old ways and create something new. What if in letting go in the face of fear of the unknown we actually make room for the new to enter. Often when we give up trying we find a sort of magic can bring unexpected opportunities beyond what we thought possible.

We tend to resist chaos. We associate it with war or natural disasters or with the unraveling of the structures that we have always thought of as solid. We cling to what feels comfortable. Chaos can rattle our bodies and emotions leaving us feeling overwhelmed. It can trigger a reaction of fight or flight which puts us in our reptilian brain which is incapable of creative problem solving.

What we call chaos can actually be part of the process of creativity and renewal. Look at nature. Fire recycles nutrients and restores certain species of trees like Lodgepole Pine that require the heat to release seeds from their cones. Immediately after a fire nature gets to work restoring a new kind of order.

In her book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Janine Benyus explains, “The new sciences of chaos and complexity tell us that a system that is far from stable is a system ripe for change. Evolution itself is believed to have occurred in fits and starts, plateauing for millions of years and then leaping to a whole new level of creativity after crisis.”

Then there is the chaos in our individual lives. We lose our job, a relationship ends, we are diagnosed with an illness or a loved one dies. Such changes can leave us feeling disappointed or sometimes even devastated. Yet often out of such chaos it’s possible that we get a better job, we met the love of our life, we develop increased kindness and compassion or we deepen our spiritual life.

Allowing for chaos can open up new doors. I know a woman whose house burned down. At the time she didn’t see it as a gift. Yet a year later she is living in the house of her dreams paid for by her insurance. She is laughing as she tells me it’s the best thing that ever happened to her. In my own life it was the disturbing loss of job that prompted me to become self employed combining my love of writing, creativity and nature.

Chaos is at the heart of being creative. Creativity begins from a place of swirling possibilities. It can be messy. On the creative journey we often feel like we don’t know what we’re doing or where exactly it’s going. Yet as we take it step by step following the threads of intuition and inspiration, and showing up for the work we are guided to do, we discover the process itself to be deeply rewarding and satisfying.

We find that we are okay when something doesn’t work out the way we want. We let go of wanting to control everything and learn to let ourselves be surprised by what unfolds. We let ourselves be like a child with finger paints, who isn’t the least bit concerned about the mess. We learn to trust something greater than ourselves is working on our behalf.

By bringing creativity into every area of our live it can help us transcend the chaos by reordering the world and our lives in new and inspired ways. Take a minute consider a place in your life that feel chaotic and ask “what newness wants to be born in my life?” Don’t think about it, just allow an idea to pop in, follow your heart. Then see what one small act that you can take to start creating from this inspiration. What if we could help change the world that way?

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