Who do you want to be in the chaos?

Lately, I’ve been sitting with this question. I started contemplating it when a series of events involving structures crumbling, health breakdowns, and fallen leadership occurred in my personal life within the span of a few days. There’s nothing particularly unusual about this kind of chaos right now. The disruptive energy of change is here. There is no avoiding it. When everything starts falling apart at once, my automatic response is multi-tasking, over-helping, and overdrive. But that sort of high-speed crisis management is not really the best I have to offer, and I’ve been learning how to consciously shift out of that pattern more quickly. It’s actually not who I want to be in the chaos. 

I was sitting in the silence of Community Wellness Hour a few Wednesdays ago when the answer to my question came.

It was a tree.

A huge redwood tree, rooted in the mountains for more than a hundred years, reaching into the sky with branches that dance in even the strongest wind. 

But that’s not it!

Also a bird in that tree.

A bird like an eagle, or perhaps a phoenix. A bird who soars above, seeing what only one with such freedom and perspective can see.


A nest for that bird in that tree, made out of what is available. Holding what is most precious.

A safe place for the vulnerable growing strong.

There’s a whole lot going on out there, and in here. Change, especially big change, is messy. And change at a large scale is kind of terrifying. When the structures, the leadership, and the systems fall apart, as far as I can see, there is only one way to turn: inside and to each other.

This is exactly why I started the women’s release and empower group. If we don’t give ourselves permission and space to release the stress that builds up, no one will. We have to move through the chaos we’re absorbing so we can be strong, clear, and wise when we need to be. No one–no therapist, no doctor, no teacher, no guru–can do this for you. They can guide you on the path, but only you can walk it. We need to do our own self-healing work, and we do it best when we’re together. Only then can we show up with the kind of loving presence and courage that is needed in this crazy world.

One thing I know for sure: everything can fall apart, and you can still have your heart. There are a thousand examples of this. Take Victor Frankl of Man’s Search for Meaning or Anita Moorjani of Dying To Be Me. Take every brave person who keeps their compassion at a job in the hospital, the prison, the social service agency, the shelter, or the walk-in clinic. A holy mess is happening, and it may become the norm for periods of time. So I ask you, who do you want to be in the chaos? We are all needed here.

With so much faith in you,


PS– Let me know soon if you’re interested in joining us this winter/spring for Release & Empower! There are only a few spots left, and the early bird registration discount ends January 10th. We’re looking for women who do a lot of caregiving at work or at home, women who are good at doing what needs to be done but who need more healthy release in their lives! This season, the group meets Thursday evenings in south Austin. It will be a beautiful way to start the new year with intention and care. Details here!

One thought on “Who do you want to be in the chaos?

  1. Pingback: Expanding the view | Julia Aziz, LCSW-S, Rev.

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