Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chaos to Order

Fall is a gentle season. In Southern California there are subtle changes of cool nights, early-morning fog, falling leaves, and withering vines. Monarch butterflies continue to grace my garden but there are fewer now and the milkweed is no longer being consumed by their offspring. The earth seems to be drawing into herself, preparing to rest. She will continue to provide winter fruits and vegetables to nourish our bodies but there is a shift in the elements, even here in sunny California.

This is the time of year when I begin to prepare for my own wintering. My stack of non-fiction books is growing by my bedside ready to assist me in gathering new wisdom and insight about myself and the world I live in. I love this time of reflection and discernment through the written word.

Lately I've been reading Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World by Margaret Wheatley. Margaret Wheatley writes, teaches, and speaks about radically new business practices and ideas for organizing in chaotic times using quantum science and nature for guidance. She works to create organizations of all types where people are known as the blessing, not the problem.

Leadership and the New Science was published in 1999 but the wisdom and insight Wheatley shares is even more relevant in today's chaotic world than it was a decade ago. Daily we observe chaos in government and the global economy. Unemployment plagues once-thriving countries and communities and depression is at an all-time high. There is a growing fear of disorder and chaos.

Yet chaos and disorder, and the falling apart of antiquated systems, is exctly what is required in order to move into the prophesied new era. Old systems that no longer serve must fall away and be replaced with sustainable systems that do not deplete the natural resources of our beautiful planet while supporting the growth of communities.

But where do we look for inspiration, hope, and wisdom? Where are the systems that can serve as a model for more sustainable systems? Nature. Nature is constantly changing from one cycle to another. Look at the cycle of a butterfly, the migration of birds, the seasonal transformation of deciduous forests, and the life cycle of all sentient beings.

Perhaps if each of us makes the commitment to reflect on our own inner nature and spend time each day meditating in the arms the natural world, especially wild places, order will begin to emerge within and without. Inspiration can replace fear and ideas for creating order from disorder can begin to emerge.

Nature is filled with cycles and rhythms of change, order and chaos. What plants thrive naturally in the wilderness habitats where you live? What seasonal changes can you observe around you? What natural systems are working together to create balance in your garden or neighborhood? What is not working and needs to be changed?

We live in evolutionary times, more globally intense than at any other time in recorded history. Human beings are amazingly adaptable but we have forgotten how to live together in balance and harmony. We have lost our interdependence with Mother Earth and are out of rhythm with her cycles. She is reminding us that the world within is reflected in Nature. None of us can live alone. We need each other and our communities to solve the daunting problems in our world.

During this season I encourage you to slow down and look within. Is there any chaos in your life that you wish to transform? Spend some time in nature and allow her to speak to your inner wildness. Reflect on what is working and what is not. Let the chaos within and without guide you to creative solutions as you bring order to your life and hope into the world. Be willing to let go of the things that no longer serve you and embrace the invitation to transform the internal and external chaos. Allow nature to be your compass.
"One is constantly reminded of the infinite lavishness and fertility of Nature -- inexhaustible abundance amid what seems enormous waste. And yet when we look into any of her operations that lie within reach of our minds, we learn that no particle of her material is wasted or worn out. It is eternally flowing from use to use, beauty to yet higher beauty; and we soon cease to lament waste and death, and rather rejoice and exult in the imperishable, unspendable wealth of the universe, and faithfully watch and wait the reappearance of everything that melts and fades and dies about us, feeling sure that its next appearance will be better and more beautiful than the last." ~ John Muir

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