Responsibility and Chaos

I have many factors that have contributed to responsibility leading to an experience of chaos for me.

I am the oldest of seven.   I come from a military family (Army).

My father was a warrant officer – worked his way up the ranks and held a multitude of job descriptions in the Army.

I was born in the 1950s.

Middle class family with a work hard, dream big, be practical, philosophy.

I am female.

Now let’s add in the characteristics of being gifted – high standards, driven, perfectionistic, integrity, proponent of justice and humanity, and questioning authority.

All those factors lead to being practical, responsible, getting things done, making things happen, commitment, doing the ‘right’ thing, being the best you can be, and taking care of things.

The chaos comes in with being inquisitive, wanting to play, wanting to try new things, go on adventures, be silly, and do because you can – not because it needs being done, doing without rhyme or reason.  The child, within, wants to be a child not all grown up.  And remember the high standards – doing the best you can and throw in the imposter syndrome with self-sabotage.

Over the years what has helped with the chaos is having children or working with children.  You then have permission to do all kinds of things that is not seen as appropriate for mature adults.  Another little strategy is when presenting it is acceptable to put on a performance, entertain.  Also, I found in the past by being the hostess of parties, social events, gives permission and leeway for more childlike behaviors.

I am currently involved in Julia Cameron’s Artist Way process.  I am finding the limitations, barriers, layers that I have surrounded my creativity and curiosity.   It has made a difference on how I have defined myself.  It also has made a difference on how I respond to others requests and responses to me and possible opportunities.

This creates a torn feeling inside – knowing I can and the challenge presented would be pleasant; however, wanting to play, strike out in a different direction, and asking is this truly what I desire.  Do the responsible thing – move forward in your career through the channels, accept the responsibility and the pay increase, be secure   OR   trust your abilities, your dreams, your intuition, your curiosity.  The chaos involves making the responsible decision more or less by default, or making a conscious choice with greater risk to develop the wonder like joyful experience.

No the two are not totally exclusive.  There is the experience of flow in doing a responsible action.  There is the limitation in pursuing creativity.  Blending and balancing responsibility and childlike wonder is a skill and an opportunity for actualization (probably through positive disintegration).

The question that presents itself is how to be a grown up without growing up?  How to be responsible and play?  How to integrate and balance the full spectrum of needs of a highly intelligent, able, sensitive, driven, curious, practical, carefree …. Individual?

What is your experience with responsibility and chaos?  How do you blend the various needs?  What are your contributing factors?

More of my Journey is presented at howtoinlife.com.

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4 thoughts on “Responsibility and Chaos

  1. Is that a rhetorical question? Or are we really supposed to answer? (That was my first instinct before I had any coffee.) And I realize it’s one of the ways I deal with my discomfort re: the two extremes. I blur them, by asking a silly question in a serious situation or a serious question in a silly situation. Children do this too and get labeled mouthy by their parents or in class, but I think they are just trying to bring their whole being into a situation, and also as you say calm their contributing factors by taking the pressure off, relaxing, and being creative. I agree working with children is a big help and I also found that writing for children is great too. Both are responsible and serious endeavors where you also get to play with chaos. Little things like reading fiction midday, eating a spot of candy, wearing my blue strawberry sequined barrettes, playing a turn of scrabble, walking for an ice cream cone, also remind me that I am more than my responsible adult self. Sometimes, too, if we look back, I think we may find that not only did we learn Mom was the responsible one and Dad was the fun one (for example, and regardless of who made the money), but we learned that these two personas are separate and you almost have to ‘leave one body’ and ‘get to another’ to experience them both. Sometimes (on a good day ;) it just takes a moment of fun to bring the “child” into my endeavor.

  2. PS. My husband read it and thought it was great too. He also muttered something about being able to tell you’re gifted bc of your long sentences and that he thinks they would even be longer if you had your druthers and that you want to diverge but you loop back to stay on topic. Then he said: “Just like you.” I heard sweetness in his voice, that I assume was also for me and was better than my morning coffee.He brings the child in by working on his DnD game during work hours. He is the dungeon master, of course, the responsible one. ;)

  3. Andrea – Love it! All the different little ways of play and the comment on the never ending sentence! Life is chaos with responsibility to manage, organize, and jump in the middle and enjoy!.

  4. I used to see it like this: As a child and teen I was more responsible than other children or teens. As an adult, I have to be silly since I somehow skipped being a child at the time I was supposed to be.

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