I am visiting my daughter in Dallas and her family for Easter. She has two boys, ages 9 months and two years old. Two boys- need I say more? They are adorable, busy, curious, and so unlike the three girls I raised.
It is chaotic bliss in their house. What does this look like? Dirty dishes in the sink even when just a few minutes before the kitchen was clean, mud tracks brought in from the back yard where the two-year old is digging, and piles of small t-shirts and socks smudged with dirt, jelly, and whatever else two small children carry on their clothes.
It is a house filled with laughter, cute phrases of words that you wish you could record and digitize for eternity (which in many ways I can now with my iphone), and an occasional flare of frustration from the babies trying to be understood or because they just didn’t get their way.
It is thrilling and tiring. And framed in the expanse of time for their entire lives, very short. So as I briefly enjoy and experience this chaotic bliss, I wonder in how many ways how I miss the point of my own chaotic bliss?
Do I fret and worry because there might be chaos in my life? Let me qualify chaos. I’m not talking about all-out traumatic stress and crisis chaos. I’m just talking about the kind of chaos I experience in moving to a new city, starting a new job, or making decisions that involve a lot of thought, change, and emotional angst of whether I am making the right decision or not. I’m talking about the chaos of life, stages in my growth and development that are not settled yet, not stabilized or predictable.
Chaos Theory was discovered and penned by Edward Lentz as part of his study at MIT in the early ’60s. It is the mathematical sub-field of systems and the predictability of determining the outcome each time with a certain set of parameters. He sat out to find how systems organized themselves and how to predict the outcome using a weather model. His weather model machine was successful in showing a very predictable and similar outcome using the same conditions that were in the weather right outside his lab room in Massachusetts . But when he decided to round the numbers only slightly, for example 5.2346 to 5.24, the system showed a change that was out of whack-unpredictible. This means it cannot be predicted with accuracy. These states are called Attractors and Strange Attractors. Basically, states either find a common system to settle into and organize themselves around (static), or they cannot find a common system and are always in chaos, change.
So how does this relate to my own idea of chaos? That life is pretty much unpredictable due to the changes that are always occurring. In relation to children, we pretty much all believe that if you provide love, care, instruction and the basics of life, your children will turn out as productive, and hopefully happy adults. But we also know that in the same family, under the same conditions, this is not always so. It is those strange attractors that we cannot set parameters around, that make it unpredictable.
I know that whatever change I am experiencing or going through is temporary, That my attractor will organize this part of my life and it will become static (at least for awhile). And for the strange attractors in my life? Those can either be bliss or nagging fears that I allow to cause my chaos to turn to crisis. We live in a society of change- of chaos in a way. We have more systems in our world than ever before technology, communications, global connections, and more being innovated each day. We are all trying to find the state of attractors while living in a world of fast and faster strange attractors.
It is the ability to manage, and find peace, and enjoy the chaos, riding it like the waves of the sea until there is a calm, flat blue surface.
Meanwhile, the dishes can stay stacked in the sink in a temporary chaos of their own, while I enjoy the bliss of being with a toddler whose world seems very stable due to the love around him. I too will love myself and know I am stable not because of what is around me, but because inside me is the great stabilizer- love.