You know from your own experience that inner chaos is that pesky combination of negative emotions with a racing, distracted mind, which generates and fuels these emotions. If you’re interested in a more thorough explanation of inner chaos, you can satisfy your curiosity with a quick review of this post.
If you are up to speed on Inner Chaos, then wait no more. Let me introduce you to the Cast of Inner Chaos Characters!
The Main Cast of Inner Chaos Characters:
This Cast of Characters takes up residence frequently among us humans. You’re intimately familiar with all the chaos these characters create so I won’t pile on any unpleasant reminders. But perhaps less obvious is the purpose the Cast of Characters serves. After all, in every well-constructed narrative drama, each character has a purpose, gift, or an insight to offer us when we are willing to notice it.
Plus, accepting that the relationship with this Cast of Characters is lifelong becomes much easier when you see the purpose or insight the characters offer. Yet, before we issue any gushing praise, let’s acknowledge that the Cast of Characters’ excessive determination to fulfilling its purpose and relentless persistence on delivering its gift or insight makes them annoying, unwanted, and obstacles.
Without further delay . . .
First, I want to encourage you to embrace our familiar companion, Uncertainty. She really has so much to offer. Consider these gifts of Uncertainty:
- Adventures are fun because Uncertainty travels with us.
- Surprises don’t work at all if Uncertainty didn’t show up in good measure.
- Uncertainty piques our curiosity and stimulates our thinking.
- Uncertainty nudges us to try new things and ease up on the security of hanging out so frequently in our comfort zones.
How have you embraced Uncertainty recently to foster adventure, surprise, curiosity, new ideas, an expansion of your comfort zone, or a completely new way of understanding the limits of trying to maintain control?
How might you consider embracing Uncertainty? In case you haven’t noticed she’s popping up everywhere these days. Uncertainty troubles us when we prefer her boring cousin—certainty. Certainty is all about delivering on our desired bargain—I’ll do this and that will unfold. Certainty minimizes the need for risks and plays nicely with control. Yet certainty is a deceiver—offering us false security while simply replicating the already accomplished.
Perhaps Uncertainty’s greatest gift to us is the opportunity to awaken to a profound truth that life is uncertain. When we accept that profound truth, we have the opportunity to see with new eyes that ultimately our futile efforts to control life can quickly be undone by say things like an invisible, microscopic virus!
Since Uncertainty is beyond your control, why not try again and reintroduce yourself with a slightly more welcoming tone. One of the marks of true wisdom, accepting what I cannot change!
Confusion: Your guide to Clarity
Confusion always shows up with a gift—a pause. Have you noticed? Once you’re aware of Confusion’s presence, don’t you often pause? The pause feels essential as though another move might just be the wrong one.
That pause Confusion gives then prompts you to ask questions, which are amazing tools.
When? What? Where? Which? Who? These questions get you moving to seek answers, which can spur you to action, which is the core ingredient to achieving!
So, Confusion is a guide, delivering a gift, and shining a light on the path.
Welcome her guidance, accept her gift, and take her lead. Ask questions and notice if those questions don’t uncover exactly who you were looking for all along—Clarity!!
Fear’s an attention-grabber. She is so persistent!! Fear exaggerates greatly and she is relentless!! She hates to be ignored, in fact.
Fear seems to show up in almost every drama you’ve seen. When she’s the lead character, no one else gets much attention because she’s so overpowering.
Yet, Fear delivers a valuable message.
To receive that message, pause, ground yourself, look and listen carefully at the Fear. Strip away the exaggeration and annoying persistence and you’ll find the message. This message or subtle revelation is the first step to silencing Fear.
As the clarity of the message or subtle awareness emerges, you’ve taken the first step toward silencing Fear, which is what you wanted right!?!
Then you can let go of all that unnecessary hype and address the actual need in front of you, which will calm you and strengthen your confidence!
Is Fear showing up as the dominant character in your Inner Chaos now?
Strip away the relentless exaggeration and you’ll find the value in the message. Consider the common Fear of public speaking. Her highly exaggerated message might be, “you’re going to ruin your reputation, face humiliation, and maybe lose your voice.” Overlook her edgy style, but do not overlook the valuable message under the hype. In the case of public speaking, be prepared, thoughtful, and respectful of your audience with a clear message to offer and an approach that’s consistent with your values.
Overwhelm has a massive, dense presence that has a tendency to take over. Escaping and avoiding this heavy, dense energy is enticing. Yet if you have the courage to stick around attentively, you’ll see that Overwhelm delivers the gift of a warning. “You’re about to or have already exceeded capacity” she shouts!!! “Stop now! Evaluate!”
Without Overwhelm’s warning, you might deplete your resources more quickly or devote those resources in areas that aren’t well-aligned with your purpose.
I get it. Overwhelm’s warning can be so loud and distracting, you can hardly work in her presence. Have you noticed your lack of productivity when she shows up? Overwhelm often travels with Confusion, who can quickly nudge you to seek some answers to the capacity problem that Overwhelm is warning you about.
True, Overwhelm’s warning can be excessive and premature but by checking in you have the opportunity to restore order and recalibrate your actions. Great time to adjust your sights on where you’re headed with all that action.
Resistance is clever and shows up in many disguises. You can recognize Resistance without much effort when she plays obvious roles such as delaying work, pretending you’re not sad, disappointed, or angry when you are or even ignoring bad news by not opening bills or answering email, texts, or calls from those you owe long overdue work or money. Resistance in these familiar roles could also be called procrastination, that habit of imagining everything will be easier to tackle tomorrow.
Resistance’s award-winning performances, however, are those you’re blind to and never even suspect such a character as Resistance is on the scene. When you’re certain you are defending your values, furthering a just cause, or critiquing the flaws in others, you never consider that Resistance has fed you the script and rehearsed the lines with you.
How could this be Resistance? What could you possibly be resisting when you’re standing up for what’s right and making life better for everyone? You could possibly be resistant to seeing another perspective of achieving those same goals, doubting your own certainty, or accepting that your desired reality won’t unfold, and you’ll be OK anyway. [If you notice you are resisting this assertion, apply the concept to someone else, especially someone you disagree with and you’ll see more readily without resistance.]
Whether Resistance is performing an obvious or far more obscure role in your drama, you need desperately her most valuable gift—a clue-by-clue treasure map! Imagine Resistance as an omniscient wizard guiding you moment to moment to receive the next clue to your great treasure, such as that valuable contribution you long to make. Resistance highlights what you don’t want to see but need to see as a prerequisite for moving forward toward that treasure. Thus resistance, get it?
The gift—your next clue in the clue-by-clue treasure map—from Resistance becomes yours when you relax, release, and look intently with an open heart at what you didn’t want to see, thus allowing and trusting. Then you’ll see what is currently blocking your path to exactly what you want and need.
Here’s a hint directly from the omniscient wizard herself. Your resistance is rooted in your expectations for LIFE to align with what you want and what you don’t want rather than with what is—what is real and what is true. Yet the freedom and joy you really, really want is found by accepting what is.
This simple, profound, and easily misunderstood concept is beautifully demonstrated in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and of course, lies at the core of all wisdom and sacred teachings. If you’re a student of yoga, you know it as well. When you meet Resistance, you have met your edge. Pushing against Resistance is counterproductive. Instead? Yes, relax and release, allowing the Resistance to dissolve itself. With consistent practice it does!
Doubt waves the caution flag, urging you to slow down. “Something’s missing,” you can almost hear her whisper. Yet, Doubt’s caution flag is offered to encourage you to seek and discover the specifics. Doubt has graciously and urgently waved the caution flag. What will you do with that potentially valuable caution?
Perhaps Doubt’s real gift is time. She’s saving you time in the future. When you heed Doubt’s caution, you’re given the opportunity to notice what’s missing, what’s not a fit, what needs to shift, what could be done differently. She’s saving you from pursuing your next step without all the needed pieces or sometimes saving you from pursuing a path that’s not a fit for you.
Even if you haven’t yet been formally introduced, you’ll know Frustration right away from the big spotlight she shines.
Frustration shines her spotlight on your expectations. Think about that for a minute. Once you sense Frustration’s presence, look where the spotlight’s shining.
Maybe Frustration is drawing your attention to an unstated expectation or an overly ambitious expectation you’ve set for yourself.
Some of the most commonly unmet expectations are the ones you set for someone else. Frustration’s spotlight reveals that those people you’ve set expectations for probably aren’t that interested in meeting your expectations.
Before getting distracted by the feeling of Frustration and the thoughts she evokes, embrace her gift—the spotlight. When you see your expectation clearly, you’ll know better what step to take next to ease up on it or communicate it more clearly.
Collectively this Cast of Inner Chaos Characters in your personal drama (and everyone else’s) stirs up the unwanted, driving you to ignore, flee, or mask with pleasure.
The counterintuitive alternative is to allow them and even welcome them. Most importantly anticipate and accept the gift each offers:
Inner Chaos Character Gift
Resistance Clue-by-clue treasure map
Consider a reframe. Instead of dreading and avoiding, next time an inner chaos character pops up in your drama consider the possibilities. Now you’re open to receiving a pause, a warning, a spotlight, a treasure map clue, a message, an opportunity, or time. Then imagine what you might do with those gifts!