The chaos of life stares up the dust. It clouds the rooms and blinds us to the bigger picture. Consumed within the moment. The air becomes restricted. Suffocating. This is life. It is busy. It is tough. But a lot of the chaos is unnecessary. Busyness in place of progress. Busyness to be doing something. Busyness to distract. Escapism for the sake of avoiding reality. Drugs, alcohol, sex, anything to heighten the escape. To add to the chaos. And then to block it out.
But step outside of that tornado for a short while and the dust begins to settle. A fine layer on the ground that we can leave our mark. The air becomes breathable. Life becomes manageable. The tornado still spins. Tearing through lives with no regard but we have a choice. To engage or not. To dare to seek other ways to connect. To face life without the constant need to escape. The dust settles. There is calm. It is addictive. The chattering falls to a hum. The clouds of dust kicked up by the furore cease to block out the light. There is a world beyond chaos. And there is a world inside of us. Each yearning to be heard and adored. Each wants to be loved and cherished. Both were lost in the chaos.
That day doesn’t come easy. Fighting to get out of a storm takes strength. Especially when the world we know and the people we know dwell within it. But by finding peace on the outside, we can offer a haven to others. Offer a hand and offer a taste of what life outside of the madness can be like. We can reassure that eventually, the dust will settle and like a snowy winters day, there will be calm.
It doesn’t seem possible from the inside. The forces seem unbeatable. The pressure to remain is too great. But there is lead in those boots. We have to dare to walk. To venture into the unknown. Away from the destruction. There is another way. And it might not be the first attempt that frees us but it is impossible to escape without trying. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is going from failure to failure with losing your enthusiasm.” That is life. Smaller storms may kick up on the periphery. But they are dust devils by comparison. And they don’t have the might to destroy like the chaos we once knew. That blinding energy-sapping existence is an unnecessary fight for survival. There is another way. Who knew?
Who knew? Years of fighting and struggling. Inner and outer chaos. Seeking peace in all the wrong places. Fighting noise with noise and problems with problems. What outcome did we expect? It was only going to end one way. But it is hard to see beyond the next escape when consumed in the madness. The swirling strangling madness in the pursuit of… something. Convinced that there is nothing outside of this storm. That the moments of calm are to be savoured because the madness is what we deserve. Anxiety, uncertainty, insecurity, depression, misery, self-hatred, guilt and shame are the emotions we deserve. But, alas, they are not. Step outside and take a breath. When the dust settles feel the warmth of the sun. See the joy within the moment. It is beautiful and it is you. The version of you that never got the chance to exist whilst trying to cling to the image that was on display to the world. This is you. There is a chance to be at peace. Just to breathe in that quiet contemplation before the madness of another pursuit takes over. Another goal. Another dream. A self-selected storm that is worth fighting through. Because it is a test we want to pass. One we made for ourselves. Those are the moments of growth. But it is only possible by first removing the chaos that hinders.
Maybe the quiet contentment is enough. Maybe the chaos of the past is enough for a lifetime. The time is to hang up the lead boots and enjoy the moment. It is a choice that comes for the first time in a long time. Choices were there once were none. Enough silence to ask pertinent questions. Enough clarity to pick a path and walk it with sincere contentment. With genuine love that will transcend life. That is the beauty of fulfilment. That is the gift of being present. That is the joy of daring to see if there was another way of living outside the chaos of addiction. Who knew it could be so beautiful. Who knew it would be so quiet that it could overwhelm. The silence can deafen. The yearning for the madness can arise. It seems like the only escape is to go back. But there is always somebody wanting to experience the beauty you have cultivated. Not as frequently as someone seeking something to cling to within the chaos.
Who knew? It never seemed likely once upon a time. In the chaos of my own mind and life. An anxious storm tearing to pieces from within? And with no control externally. There never seemed a solution. There seemed no contentment. But it was there. Just a few steps away. I just couldn’t see it until I stepped away from alcohol and let the dust settle.