August 16, 2014

When Life Goes to Hell: Finding the Gift In Chaos. ~ Lori Ann Lothian


Every now and then life twists and turns with all the grace of a roller coaster half off the rails.

Things feel perilous, unpredictable and wobbly. And that’s just your life. Never mind the recent uptick in conflict simmering in geo-political hot spots like the Ukraine, the middle-east and riot-ridden Ferguson, Missouri.

Add to this, the astrological crunch of Mars (warrior) and its impending impact (conjunction) with Saturn (status quo) on Aug 25th and you get the recipe for a catalytic breakdown-to-breakthrough both out there, and in here.

I have been watching with interest how my inner landscape remains a muted version of the cacophony around me. Yet I have friends who are ready to jump ship—from their marriage, their careers, their homes—from anything that feels constraining, even if that jumping means swimming in waters that are completely unknown.

This urge for momentous personal change that seems to be storming through people’s psyches is more accurately an unleashed desire for transformation.

What is being stoked by inner and outer chaos is the impetus to shed the old skin, leaving the dry husk of our finite identity behind for our boundless true self.

Simply put, the craziness around us is a call to discover the sanity inside of us.


When, at age 39, I got the call that my mother had been hit by a car and killed, I was struck by two recognitions. One, that my life would change dramatically from this axis-tilting news. And two, that the change would be wrenchingly difficult but ultimately soul-saving.

Within two years of her death, I was out of my 17-year-marriage and back on the path of the seeker—a journey begun in my early twenties, but abandoned in the stale confines of a marriage I allowed to shackle my desire for truth.

My mother’s death was a shock-loss that was also a catalyst for my freedom. I was gifted with the ability to see this even as it happened, even as I grieved.

When we see that everything conspires to wake us up—that events blessed and cursed are equal contributors to the story of self-remembrance—then we can stop feeling victimized and paralyzed by life events. We can stop asking, “Why is this happening to (poor) me?” Instead, we can dig deep into our soul with this new question: “Why is this happening for me?”

Because underlying that question is an assumption that there is order and purpose behind all apparent chaos. Or in the lingo of A Course in Miracles, “The universe is a friendly place.”


In the last week I have heard about two friends who had terminal cancer experiencing miraculous shifts of prognosis—specifically having tumors disappear and blood counts make astounding and medically impossible recoveries.

These kinds of miracles are a part of the chaotic shaking up we are collectively experiencing. When structures begin to tumble, not only do institutions and governments topple, but also edifices of belief. It’s one big shake-down.

The fractures that happen in this soul-quaking allow for new possibilities, new paradigms and new selfhood. We are being asked to let go of the old structures right now. That includes surrendering the self we have imagined ourselves to be.

And by the way, we don’t need to kill our egos—we need to grow them up and let them expand into (and be transformed by) the Remembered Self. You can call this Remembered Self by many names: soul, Atman, no-self, One-self, Truth, true nature. The naming is irrelevant—it’s the direct recognition that matters.

So, let this chaos around you be the wave you ride rather than the wave that drowns you.

See that there is a gift in the tornado—it took Dorothy to the land of Oz, and chaos can take you to the land of Your True Self if you choose to engage with trust instead of hide out with fear.

How to engage? Be still. Go inward. Listen. Respond.

Video bonus: You know you love this one….



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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Flickr/Kristaps Bergfelds

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