Chaos vs. Peace
Good morning my loves and happy day 25 of our dry January journaling series.
Here is today's prompt:
"When do you feel like you thrive? In chaos or in peace? Which feels safer? And lastly, when you think about your life - has more of it been spent in chaos or peace?"
If you experienced any sort of trauma, it's like that you're more comfortable with chaos than with peace. So if you've also been trying out Dry January this month, you may notice a lot more quiet or boring or peace in your life. This peace can be so triggering at first.
It definitely was for me.
Peace is triggering when you're accustomed to chaos. Not because it's something negative but because it's something new. Peace was new to me. And even before it felt like peace, it felt boring. And I had spent my entire life escaping boredom and rest. As soon as I finished one dream or project, I would move onto the next immediately.
I spent most of my life so insanely busy that I didn't believe I had ever had anxiety or depression. Once I slowed down and changed my life, I was able to understand that I wasn't an overachiever because I had all of these super powers - I was able to be so successful because I used being busy & achieving as a way to avoid dealing with my feelings about...everything.
As I started to realize that my perfectionism was a cover up for shame, I tried to heal my anxiety with exercise and my depression with meditating. I thought maybe if I took more walks outside and drank more smoothies then I would definitely be able to get over this little bout of depression! No biggie, right?
What I failed to see was that as long as my life was chaotic (overworked & overcommitted) - I was never going to find the healing my body so desperately wanted. On top of the insane amount of time I spent doing shit, whenever I was home and "quiet" - I was chugging wine to stop the voices in my brain from shaming me about how I could have done more and done better with my day.
I spent so long believing those lies (because I was living in chaos) that I actually apologized to my boss about my poor performance when I had that job. She laughed and told me that I did an absolutely incredible job and that what they asked of me was just incredibly difficult. She truly looked me in the eyes in shock and awe that I could believe I hadn't kicked ass.
But that's what happens when we live in chaos - our brain is controlled by fear and scarcity. We believe we are always failing no matter what we do and on the days we do a great job, we can't ever let ourselves actually believe it.
I've read a ton about neuroscience this year and one of the most fascinating things I've learned is that when humans are stressed or scared, they are more likely to lie. When our nervous system is in fight or flight mode because of a stressor, we don't think about the long term - we only want to solve the problem right now. We will deal with the consequences later in order to get out of the fight or flight mode.
And when we live in chaos or fight or flight all the of the time, making long term healthy decisions for us can be damn near impossible.
It took walking away from a job and a city and a house that I loved. It took knowing people were gonna talk about me and it took knowing I was going to have to be accountable for my actions. But I couldn't live that way anymore. Change was terrifying. But it also felt incredibly necessary.
In the most typical me fashion, shortly after all of that chaos ended - I got pregnant. This time though, I wasn't going to thrive in chaos. 6 weeks after I gave birth to my best girl, I got into trauma therapy. And then in January of 2021, I quit drinking.
Slowly I have allowed my life to get more peaceful one step at a time. Walking away from jobs and people and places and whatever else that brings you chaos. Chaos feels exciting in the moment but it will always take from you in the long term. Chaos sticks with our body much longer than we experience it.
Chaos usually leaves us with shame and things to clean up.
As I've learned to embrace peace, I have found freedom in what embracing my own peace looks like. It looks like unfollowing hundreds of people on social media if I need to. It looks like being considered a homebody because I'd rather only be with people who let me feel like me. And it looks like setting boundaries with everyone in my life around my time because like my girl Glennon Doyle says - I have one wild and precious life, I am choosing how I live it. And I choose peace, my loves. I choose peace.