Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Beauty in the midst of chaos

I've been meaning to blog for a few days now, but my energy level has been pretty low after the second dose of chemo. Two more rounds of the big stuff and then it is 12 weeks of another type of chemo. I've been told that it is not as taxing on the body, so we shall see. Round two produced immediate hair loss. It was coming out in handfuls, so I gladly had my husband shave my head. I was experiencing what I can only call follicle pain. Not sure if that is even correct, but it actually hurt to have hair on my head. In the meantime, I've been sketching and tooling around on the Internet.

I stumbled upon a fb post of an image of a flower created in sand by a pendulum during an earthquake. The premise is that in the midst of chaos, beauty emerges. This is the actual picture and the explanation that went with the image.

Flower from Chaos

When a magnitude 6.8 earthquake shook Olympia, Washington in 2001, shop owner Jason Ward discovered that a sand-tracing pendulum had recorded the vibrations in the image above.

Seismologists say that the “flower” at the center reflects the higher-frequency waves that arrived first; the outer, larger-amplitude oscillations record the lower-frequency waves that arrived later.

“You never think about an earthquake as being artistic — it’s violent and destructive,” said Norman MacLeod, president of Gaelic Wolf Consulting in Port Townsend. “But in the middle of all that chaos, this fine, delicate artwork was created.”

This got me thinking about shaving my head and the strange beauty that occurred in the midst of chaos. It was freeing and somehow I felt a sense of inner calm when I just let it go. Life often presents us with a balance in even the most difficult of times. We may not initially see it, but it often comes though in unexpected ways. When I think back over events in my life and of course, the cancer diagnosis, I can see a strange beauty that has occurred in the midst of chaos. No one wishes for Cancer, for the loss of a loved one, or tragedy of any kind for that matter, but it is interesting to me how like the Flower from Chaos in the earthquake, much beauty can be gleaned in difficult circumstances. I think back to 9/11 and how terribly tragic the events were, and yet, I saw so much beauty in how humanity came together. The same can be said for natural disasters, and how communities rally around one another for support. The chaos of Cancer has allowed me to see the beauty in this life in so many ways, from the support of a neighbor, to healing prayers, but especially for allowing me to view this life though a different lens. I know it isn't always easy to see beauty in the midst of chaos. I know it doesn't always appear right away, but I do believe that it is always there waiting to be discovered.

This lead me to an article about Stephen Hawking, in which he indicated that our biggest threat to humanity is aggression. (,manual

The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or a partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all,. A major nuclear war would be the end of civilization, and maybe the end of the human race.

And yet, he further said...The quality I would most like to magnify is empathy. It brings us together in a peaceful, loving state.

So, that got me thinking once again about beauty and chaos. I tend to believe it is not so much our aggressive nature, as a lack of empathy, or ambivalence toward others and nature that would be our ultimate undoing. My hope is that in the midst of chaos, we can look within each of ourselves to see the beauty that we have to offer this world, and to each other. It is my hope that if chaos is part of the process, that our survival is in our ability to create beauty.