Chaos Boxed

Sometimes my world seems so out of control and out of focus I don’t know what to do with myself.

Last year too many big shifting events that carried loss for me happened too close together. As a friend explained about what can happen when grief hits, my compass got broken. I lost my footing. The universe was no longer behaving how I expected it to, wanted it to, counted on its doing.

This happens to us all at some point, and how we respond is as individual as everything else about us. Metaphorically AND literally, I turn around in small circles for a while, repeating over and over, “What do I do? What do I do?” After I assess the damage (some might call this grieving), I have to find a way to box the chaos so that I can function within it.

If I look at the image above–IMAGINE the hugeness of this galaxy Cassiopeia–GET that it’s only a small fraction of the universe itself–SPIN out of control into the immenseness of the thought–I freak out. But when it’s boxed up in that photo in a gorgeous representation? No need to worry, I can sit back and bask in the wonder of it all.

Yay boxes!

They protect us from danger


Wrap presents


and, like the Tardis, maybe take us to strange and wonderful places on the outskirts of our imagination.









What I’m talking about is my need for structure, especially when my life goes awry. I need to feel in control, even in the midst of unknowing. Especially in the midst of unknowing. Structure gives that to me.

Without the box to tame the wonder, the danger, the surprises, the creativity in me, the fluster of not knowing what to expect from this new universe takes over. The school I attended provided a great box that I functioned happily in for 4 years. Ironically, one of the losses that hit me last year was the fact that I succeeded in the program. I got my degree! I graduated! Yay!

Except now it’s over, the chaos hit again:

How am I going to determine what I want to do with my life?

How am I going to make that happen?

I’ve always been tremendously jealous of people who know what they want to be when they grow up, what they want to DO, who have a passion that drives them beyond everything else. That’s not me. Let’s face it, I’m a writer, yes. But it’s not like I think I’d die or go up in flames or something if I wasn’t allowed to do it. Does that mean I shouldn’t bother? There are people who say, yes, it does mean that. The world has plenty of writers already! But since I don’t want to listen to those people and I don’t have to listen to those people, I’m not going to!

But I still need my structure, my box for the chaos of who I am. And here’s where a series of gifts I got last week comes in. 1) A writing buddy and I shared writing contracts for the year (mine includes a monthly blog post, huzzah).  2) Another friend asked if I would join her in daily goals and following-day accountabilities via texting. I agreed. 3) I found out about bullet journals, created by Ryder Carroll as an organizational tool. So far it’s working really well for me.

More irony–I’m using my Van Gogh (not the sanest guy)’s journal to keep me sane!

Inside are lists and indexes and hand-crafted calendars and more lists! Keeping me steady, keeping me true to my promises to myself.

Here’s what I particularly like about it:

  1. It’s hand written. No computer necessary, just pen and notebook (make it a durable one, though.)
  2. You can start without knowing much about how to do it and it’s still useful.
  3. There are videos showing you tips and how-to’s when you want to get advanced.
  4. There’s a lot of crossing off of accomplishments, but not a lot of judging.
  5. You can (it’s suggested you do) use if for all aspects of your life.
  6. It’s particularly good for me, who is self-employed and self-motivated.

It’s great to feel empowered by boxes. What strategies do you use to feel excited by life?



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2 Responses to Chaos Boxed

  1. Robin says:

    I appear to be unusally blessed with the ability to roll with change. To adapt. To shift. Maybe even shape shift. It’s a gift that I recognize when I am around people struggling with life. And am grateful and wish I could share like a piece of cheesecake.

    • WW says:

      Yes, I’ve noticed that about you, Robin, and I agree that this is one of your most amazing character traits! What’s that line from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? “Bumbles bounce!” You bounce, Robin. Yay! If you have secrets up your sleeve, please share them. 🙂

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