Riding the Wave of Chaos

My kitchen looks like it has just been hit by a bomb. Between the puddles of green smoothie left behind from this morning’s attempt at a healthy breakfast are papers recently plucked from my children’s notebooks. A bottle of maple syrup oozes sticky liquid down the label and onto the counter. Half eaten waffles grow cold on a paper plate sitting on the kitchen table. Last night’s dinner dishes remain waiting in the sink.

School is back in session. No more lazy mornings allowing the kids to sleep in until they feel good and ready to emerge from their soft, cool sheets. Alarm clocks blaze. Pillows shield their eyes from the sun as the cruel window shades open to morning’s blinding light. “Ten more minutes!”, they plead.

“Nope. Time to get up.”

I shuffle into my home office to be greeted with a foul odor. One of the animals has found a convenient place to relieve herself. As I scan the room, my eyes find the offending pile of poop on the floor right next to my hard drive. Probably from our cat, wildly jealous of the new kitten that has just learned to use the litter box the two of them will hopefully soon share. I scoop the mess from the floor and carefully wipe the cords, trying really hard not to hurl.

There are lunches to prepare, homework journals to be signed, and three to shuttle to two different schools. We have been catapulted back into a very structured time regimen that we are just not quite in sync with yet.

8:03am. Time to pile into the car for the first trip out. Halfway to our destination, my oldest son realizes the report he worked like a dog all weekend to complete is sitting in its glossy cover on the coffee table. Cranking my steering wheel to make a U turn in heavy morning traffic, I feel the panic rising in my sweet young son. He’s about to be late on the first full week of school. His breathing is shallow. His neck is tight. His jaw is clenched.

I know that look. I’ve been there. My heart goes out to him.

Where’s my coffee? I forgot to make myself a cup of coffee. I breathe deeply and try to calm my son. He doesn’t feel like chatting.

We ride in silence to the house. He springs out of the car and bursts through the door with me on his heels. We are on a mission. We locate the report and leap back into the car. Upon arriving at the school, he slinks out, hangs his head and makes his way to class.

I take another deep breath. Gotta get home and shuttle the second group now.

My daughter is sitting on the kitchen floor cleaning her white tennis shoes with a toothbrush. My son is at the computer playing his favorite game. I silently pray that their backpacks are not on opposite ends of the house and that all their homework is where it is supposed to be. Lucky break - they are both good to go. My car drives as though on tracks to their school, around the turnaround and through the drop off area. Hugs and kisses. The door closes. And I am free.

Except for the kitchen. And the fact that I have a meeting in forty five minutes that I am not quite ready for.

WRITE! The voice inside my head is talking to me. WRITE NOW.

I think of the dishes. My hair needs brushing. And I’m beginning to question my wardrobe selection. I sit at the computer and place my hands on the keyboard. I begin to type.

What I realize now is that I have just stepped through chaos into a different zone. The wave came at me. It was high. It was strong. Powerful. But this morning I didn’t fight it. I let it take me for a ride. I remembered to breathe. And I’m still in the chaos.

I’ve had mornings like this where I ended up battered and bruised, hurled onto the shore with arms flailing, trying to wrestle the waves and make everything happen the way I thought it should. I’ve crawled sputtering to the beach exhausted and weak, all my energy spent rebelling against the unforeseen forces that thrust me reluctantly into chaos. But not today. Today, I feel good.

My heart goes out to my son. But I know that this is just one of a number of experiences he will have that will give him a lesson he will draw from at some point in his future. He may never realize how important it was or how it shaped him. He will likely have a few more of those mornings. And so will I. Over time, he will make different choices. He will learn to breathe. He will learn to relax and take whatever comes to him with grace and fortitude. If he has enough of these experiences, he may even become unflappable.

Ride the wave. Even if it takes you under. You’ll come out on top eventually. Remember to breathe when you have the chance to come up for air.

And seize the moment to do whatever you gut tells you to. Even if at the time it seems like the craziest thing you could possibly think of.

My hair still needs brushing. But I’m more ready now for that meeting that I ever would have been if I hadn’t stopped to reflect, ponder, and WRITE.

The dishes will get done when they get done. The cat will poop where it will. And what I’m wearing isn’t nearly as important as how I feel.  Hello new day. I’m here. Today, I’m REALLY here.

Wave picture by Kaz Sano from Dreamstime.com.

About Diane Bolden

Diane Bolden is passionate about helping people actualize their brilliance in a way that inspires others to do the same. In addition to being the author of The Pinocchio Principle ~ Becoming the Leader You Were Born to Be, Diane is an executive coach, speaker, yoga lover and mother of three. Join Diane On the Road to Real, visit her Synchronistically Speaking blog, follow her on Twitter;, or visit her YouTube channel for more.