Choosing Chaos

As a child in the middle of the back row, creating order out of chaos in an early ballet class.

A Big Life: Encouragement for People in the Arts

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being free. 

Free not to have to pretend to be happy or smart or foolish.  

Free to pursue my dreams of expressing my true self through acting or dancing or writing or paint.

Free to be me.  By myself.

But this desire for freedom warred with my desire for love.

Love that was gentle.

Love that respected my intelligence and my feelings.

Love that allowed me to pursue my dreams.

Love that allowed me to be me. With someone.

Growing up, my choices seemed to be that I could either be free and alone or to be controlled and with someone. At school I had to conform or I was an outsider. At home I had to do what my parents said or else there was hell to pay. As I’m a born career girl, I thought being in a marriage meant I would have to follow my partner’s life around if I wanted a husband warm and sweet in my bed. It seemed to me that there was no freedom in love.

I have since learned that this is a lie.

The truth is that relationships are either based on manipulation and control or they are based on equality and respect.  These two kinds of interactions are frequently discussed in psychology circles when discussing healthy and unhealthy relationships. They also show up in faith traditions when discussing Good and Evil. In Christian ideology, God is said to have the desire to be freely chosen while the Devil wants control.  Some people think it is possible to avoid the pain of being in relationship with people by choosing to be alone. But that isn’t true either.  We have to be with people every day whether we like it or not.

No, the pain of real love means the pain of letting go of control and allowing for a little chaos.

It’s the only way to allow people to be free.

Interestingly, the idea of Chaos also shows up in faith traditions. Associated with the dark side of creation, it is an unpredictable void that existed before the world. It also refers to “behavior so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions”.  This is why we don’t like chaos. 

Auditioning for a role in a film last month.

However, for the artist or the true lover, chaos is where we must always begin. We have to trust that it’s the first step on the way to creation.  

Being in relationship with people means joy but it also means being in pain. Not the pain of being with people who are rough, possessive, demeaning, insulting, angry and otherwise controlling in the name of love.  We don’t have to allow our relationships to be incidental and reactionary like that. We can choose to love with intention.

That means allowing for a little chaos.

Let’s choose it now.


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