I have already sent out to many friends a recommendation that they go to www.theclydefitchreport and you read the interview of the playwright of a new play called Normalcy. The article has stuck with me especially his answer to Question 4. I look forward some day to reading the play and watching a performance. I hope you all will peruse the article.
As I said the article stuck with me, and I thought about the concept of “normalcy” and what does it mean. I would suggest in many of our lives normalcy means chaos not stability and regularity. Our lives seem to be waiting for the oncoming train coming round the corner than doing the same thing day after day. It’s a letter from the IRS saying you owe more money, a call from child who has “a problem,” a call from the doctor’s office saying “you need to come in,” or something as simple as running out of gas on a freeway. We go from crisis to crisis, not simply from one day to the next.
Scientists suggest the world was once chaos and then God triggered order and everything fell into place. Scientists have never put the microscope to my life or most of my friends, or they’d say chaos has returned. Even when there is a calm before the storm anxiety steps in or on occasion a sadness of the heart others might call mild depression.
It is in our personal chaos that God steps in as well and triggers order. God and his love for us provides the one constancy in our chaotic world. If we allow him to do so God brings normalcy into our personal chaos. By always being there for us, always comforting us, providing for us, and loving us — God brings solidity to our fragility. If we bring our lives into harmony with God through worship, prayer, and service to others, our chaos becomes ordered, manageable, and normal.
I very much enjoyed your posting on Normalcy. And I agree that most of our lives seem to be more on the chaotic side than on the “normal” side, which, I guess, is another way of saying that “normal” is chaotic.
You referenced scientists’ take on chaos, suggesting that God steps in when things are chaotic to smooth them out. So, here is another perspective. Scientists also tell us (2nd Law of Thermodynamics) that being in a state of balance or equilibrium (normal? Safe?) is entropy, or approaching death. The opposite is chaos, for which there are many definitions including randomness, lack of clarity, or disorder. In the context of life, chaos involves risk and the unknown. Our teachers tell us that the highest level of living is at that point in chaos that is as far out as possible while still holding it all together. They ask, how many places do we deny ourselves in order to be “safe?”
The key to overcoming the fear around the unknown or perceived lack of safety is in having a strong WHY in our lives. For example, fulfilling the purpose for which God created me. I’m not going to discover my life purpose by staying in my shell, being safe.
Our brains are rule-making machines. The brain uses 80% of our life force, so it tries to conserve energy by using “short-form” steps and calculations. For example, rules (like “if this, then that happens”; “always/never”; etc.) These shortcuts promote sleep walking through life by marginalizing choice. If we laid down our rules, left them behind, a new world of possibility can open up. This also requires stepping out of our comfort zone, and over time continually expanding it. We can do that by practicing being skillful with awareness and by holding our interpretations lightly.
When we become more practiced in hearing our consciousness, we become more effective in our knowing. Then it becomes necessary to use our will in order to be greater than our past stories and our environment, and thus to be greater than our compensatory self. By exercising our will, it will grow stronger (just like muscles). Choosing to be present to our knowing and acting on it will move us to greater possibility in our lives from the chaos end to the spectrum.