Ahh. My old neighborhood: chaos and order. I’m still doing these posts early, several in a day several days before publication, which is unlike me. While I do “write in the moment” and I don’t edit much unless I add on content at the end once I get access to a decent wifi, these aren’t written The Day they’re “due.” Nonetheless, all of this so-called planning “unintentionally jibes” with today’s quote.
Welcome to Day 17 of “30 Days of Jung,” my series, wherein (soon, I will start repeating myself, like now) I take a famous quote of Carl G. Jung‘s and try to make sense or refute or invert or disembowel it or where I turn into a heaping pile of mush because of it in 1,000 words or less.
If you don’t know who Jung is, he formulated the theories of introverted and extroverted personalities, the stages of individuation, the basis of the “Meyers-Briggs” personality (INFJ / ESFJ, etc.) tests. He’s the “father” of modern-day psychoanalysis. In short, he’s a badass. But he’s dead, so he can’t be with us today.
Here is today’s:
“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” ― C.G. Jung
Heck to the yeah there is! This singular concept has earned me many of my stripes and likely you, yours.
As I expressed above, I’m having to plan the writing of these posts based on the availability a suitable wifi. There is a good wifi nearby, but it’s created a conundrum for me wherein every paragraph is equal to a donut “munchkin” which is known in these parts as a “Timbit” named after Canadian hockey legend, Tim Horton, who I believe played for the Maple Leafs, eh? (No, his donuts are not as hard as pucks; they are melt-in-your-mouth good enough to help me forget all about the Cap’n.) So as much as I adore both of you for reading these posts, I am not willing to do that for you, or for the dead Carl Jung. I will write tham first and then goh baiy a coffee, eh, and let them upload en masse.
I will admit that being on vacation has lent an air of “whatever” to my adherence to these quotations. I tend to meander, as though in search of dry land (of which there is none around the house we’re renting becuase of Brazilian rains the other night; the water has receded, leaving the grass in a swamp-like state), and then come back. Writing three in one day as I did last week just about killed me though, so I don’t think I’ll do that again unless I’m totally into the quotes.
Chaos. Disorder into order. My life.
Being here with all my relatives and their perspectives on their lives and my own and our growing up together has given me a new appreciation for the chaos of my youth and how my parents coped with the ginormous event of uprooting not only their children, but themselves from the hometown that their own parents were born in. That was a huge event and it despite all outward assurances that my mom could cope with it, it caused undeniable unrest.
Having my aunt (who was like a second mother to me honestly) to talk to about those days and her perspective with myself as a healing and real adult, has been so gratifying, honest to goodness. It has ushered in a sense of “order” from all that disorder and has helped me speak freely with her with humor, candor and tenderness. Being able to look back on those days with her as a peer to my mom (they were both about my age with kids when we moved) without anger and fear has given me a sense of reliability in my memories and an ability to express them without the specter of judgment. I can be vulnerable with her without being afraid she would hold it against me — which she NEVER has. Because I hold her so close to my heart and always have, the time I’ve shared with her on the beach the past couple of days has been medicinal and fulfilling.
I feel as though my healing is starting to gel and that it’s not lip service anymore, a lá, “I loved growing up in the broom closet under the steps and using tin foil scraps to reflect the light coming in from under the door…it gave me such training for when the earth would implode…”
I feel very much that “it is what it is” now; and I have a sense of settlement with it all, and that if it weren’t for the chaos I experienced as a kid that I’d not know how to plan a trip, pack for it, make lists for my kids to pack for themselves, schedule outings with friends while on the trip, make plans with people to take care of the house while we’re away and deal with curveballs which inevitably fly our way. I see now, not only the manifestation of the use of all that chaos, but also the benefit.
Would I recommend it? Would I want to experience it all again? Not on your life, one time is enough, but I do see how for some people that growing up without adversity is not exactly the best plan. I see the beauty in what as Jung said, “… in all disorder, a secret order”: when we survive a break-in (literally or figuratively) and having our “things” robbed from us, that we learn afterward, that we survived it; that even though the things we loved were indeed stolen from us, we learned to regroup and heal. In the vent of an actual break-in (we experienced several in my youth once when I was asleep and they came in through my bedroom window), once we shook off the fear and rage, we could appreciate that no one was hurt, that material things can be replaced. In both instances, those feelings of vulnerability are not only survivable but are actually useful because they show us how fear can be overcome.
For survivors of chaos and disorder there can be a tendency to relive it, to talk about it, and to keep it alive. For me, that reliving and re-relating with people has indeed allowed me to keep the story and the pain alive and has not really allowed me to see, once I step back, the “secret order” in all the disorder.
You can’t straighten your bed while you’re still in it. You need to get out of it, see where it’s uneven, see where it can use a re-tucking (I like the foot of my bed tucked under), where the pillows need to be fluffed and whether or not you need to just pull all apart and start over.
Jung, again, is very specific: he’s talking about such a distant view, such a detachment from where we were that he used the word “cosmos.”
So, as this quote goes, in order to see the order in the cosmos in the chaos, the order in the disorder, we must take many steps (be they minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years) away from the disorder to see the order, the lesson, the richness of the intensity (the violence of our beginnings as I described on Day 12 when I wrote about Jung saying how we have our lifetimes to figure out who we are truly meant to be and the violent creation of the universe) and the reason for it all.
We can give ourselves that gift, that cosmic detachment, but it’s scary isn’t it? Some of us might like (secretly) the story to hang on to; it gives us relevance, or so we think.
I think, for me, it truly becomes a point when I am bored to tears with this story and when I can finally close the book on the past and get that perspective enough, that cosmic detachment from my space capsule with Cap’n Crunch floating about my pod with the milk all self-contained and lofty and my spoon and my beautiful sons and fluffy dog, fantastic husband and the miracle of life we’ve created for ourselves and see, FINALLY and REALLY see, that if it weren’t for all that tumult, turbidity, and chaos that I wouldn’t be able appreciate the order that has come of it.
When we back up from the bed, we can see heat needs straightening.
When I hear “disorder in my life” I automatically think about my desk. …that’s all I got.
Ha! Do you have kids? They come with disorder. Their own packages. All blown up and everything. My desk is a mess too… Sometimes. I yearn for a wiped down and clear desk.
We have organized chaos now. With three boys 15, 12 and 9…. And a dog… And two cats… And a husband…
Thanks for your comments!
How ’bout: “He who look at tree miss forest”!! Old Confucian saying invented by me and baked into fortune cookie 😉 Man think woman wiser than venerable sage.
I think about the creative process and how it all stems from chaos, at least for me. I also think about how people work so hard to establish some order. Patterns, mandalas, story telling…it’s all about making sense of things. I look at my daughter climbing up and over the back of the couch over and over again. She is a chaotic bundle of energy, but somehow, all of this chaos makes her learn and grow. She somehow becomes exactly who she is supposed to become. It’s amazing! I also know that the order I attempt to put on my world doesn’t last. Chaos is like water, it always finds a way.
“man plans, God laughs.” i find such relief in that line.
sometimes too much relief — i still need to have initiative. haha!
but yes, there is always order in chaos. that helps me too.