Covid. The Floods in Eastern Kentucky. The War in Ukraine. Records Heat Waves in Europe. Monkeypox. Inflation Across the Globe. Do I need to go on? I didn't think so. Take a deep breath. Let quiet enter your being. Breathe out. Read on.
As the Mayan Calendar heralded an end to an epoch on December 21, 2012, we welcomed in a brave new world. But, we forgot that there is chaos in the gestation and birth of the new. I don't believe that we are at an end of this birthing, so we are not at the end of the chaos.
The Uttering of The Calm
I don't know about you, but the external chaos is really tattering the edges of me being. How do I respond to the tumult? I enter a place of calm: in the quiet of that moment, in the stillness of the dark, I hear the determined uttering of calm in a chaotic me.
Yeah, you heard/read that right — chaotic me. No doubt, the world is a chaotic place. We all know that. If I am honest, the chaos of the world wouldn't impact me so much if I was calm at my core. If I were calm, I might contribute a bit less to that churning chaos and midwife us through the birth of a brave, new world.
Here's what I do. Maybe you can do it, too. I get in touch with my core — let's call it the eye of a hurricane. If I am honest, that is where I wish to be — within the calmness of the core as the storm rages around. Then I can be aware of what is going on, how it impacts me, and what actions I can take to mitigate the chaos internally and externally.
I realize that when I am not paying attention the storm encroaches my core, my edges get tattered. When my core is strong, I notice the tattering before it destroys too much of my peace. That noticing has me turning within. Aware, I listen to rustling of calm and cultivate it.
Within each of us is a kernel of calm, a spark that ignites our awareness and awakens our objective observer or the part of us that sees what is going on without judgment or attachment. While our objective observer is always present, sometimes we need to wake it up. Once awake, it take time and lots of effort to cultivate a connection to the calm. Think of the calm as the power behind our awareness. Through this awareness we minimize the impact of irritation, aggravation, fear, and anger — the winds of storm that batter the edges of our core.
How do we mitigate the effects of the storm's ravaging to move into stronger connection to our core? Once there, how do we cultivate calm? By being awake and aware. Until we consciously attend to the world around us, we miss what we judge as good, bad, and indifferent. We miss what we cling to or cast away with aversion. With awareness we move away from labeling into understanding how these emotions and situations trigger us.
Try this: Breathe: inhale, exhale. One breath. Two breaths. Three. Enter your place of calm. Notice what is going on with you.
• Name what is going on in your body.
• Name what is your mind saying.
• Name what emotions you are feeling.
• Name where your spirit is connected and disconnected.
Then with the information gathered, ask yourself:
• How is my body, my mind, my emotions, my spirit contributing to my calm?
• How do they contribute to my internal chaos?
If this exercise helped you slip away from your calm, breathe back into it. When you are connected, ask yourself
• What one thing can I do in this moment to strengthen my calm? (This may be an internal action; it may be reaching out to another. )
• Do it!
Calm Is Always A Choice
In my book, Engaging Compassion Through Intent and Action, I've written about time spent in a check out line and how actively engaging another contributes to my calm and how allowing my emotions to run amok accelerate my chaos and the chaos around me.
Just today I had another opportunity to choose calm. I went into a gas station. As I waited, the cashier finished vacuuming and them rolled up the cord, and put the vacuum away.
In that moment I could have disrupted the peace with words or action. Aware of myself, I breathed through the moment. Let go of my privilege. Channeled peace into the space. Finishing her task probably took less than two minutes. She helped me, and I was on my way. Maybe I didn't end a war, cure a disease, or prevent climate change. What I did was create less chaos in the world.
My action was the beginning of a peace spiral that spun into a chaotic world. Who knows what or who it touched? Who knows what difference it made? I don't. What I do know is that it changed me. Softened my heart and allowed me to be compassion's presence in a chaotic world.
To Be So Awake
My goal, one day, is to be so awake, so aware that I live fully in the rolling moments. That I do not hold on to past hurts, don't contribute to the chaos, or am poised to leap into a hoped for future. To be here now and respond in ways that recognize the beauty in me, the beauty in others, and the reflection of those beauties into the world. This recognition strengthens the connection to my core, the home of calm. I hope in some small way it offers hope and healing to a tattered world.
The really cool thing? Through my strengthened core, my relationships to the sacred, others, and all of creation become more durable. Through my core I am part of the Great All. Within my core beats the courage to venture into the brewing storm knowing that it can only superficially touch me as long as I remain aware. The core whispers that I am invincibly calm and prepared to respond to whatever life presents. I trust that I can be the change the world desperately needs.
A Return to Cultivating Calm
Cultivating calm isn't easy. In fact, it is really hard. Cultivating calm is a moment-by-moment, lifelong endeavor. With this cultivation, we gain a greater awareness of how we attend to what is happening in the world and what is happening in our self. We see how the world impacts us and how we impact the world. We recognize that we are part of a cycle and each action impacts the world with reaction or response.
We bi-listen aware of both our internal monologue and the many conversations in the external world. I would even say that when we bi-listen, we have mastered the art of bilocation! Able to be within the calm and the chaos at the same time.
The key to cultivating calm and strengthening our core connection is living in the moment. Not holding on to anything. Not pushing away. Acknowledging while not absorbing distractions. Not acting out of judgment. Being nonviolent. Showing up as compassion.
Being in the determined calm is attending to who you are moment by moment. While this way of being is not easy, it is possible. In the storm-filled tattered edges, I wish you moments of determined calm.
, is an . As a contemplative coach, she uses mindfulness practices and intuition tools to create strategies for navigating the mundane and extraordinary. The result of time with Van? Being the change you want to see in the world by creating a blueprint for your life through a deeper connection to your intuition and contemplative nature.
Van is a professional speaker & author who weaves inner wisdom into all she touches. Her books are available @ . Her most recent book, As Natural As Breathing: Being Intuitive, is available on Amazon. for contemplative coaching, intuitive consultations, keynotes, and programs.