How to Thrive in the Magic and the Mayhem

In case you’d rather listen:

I know summer is supposed to be wonderful, right? Waterslides, and s’mores, and songs around the campfire.

But this summer friends, this summer was HARD.

Yes there were picturesque sunsets, and long-dreamed-of road trips to take the children to my hometown, and my sweet teenage nephew whispering, “I’ve never seen the stars sparkle like that before, Auntie Chelle.”

That magic was there.
It was real.
I claim it with both hands.


And there was illness. Not your common cold variety, but scary-as-shit is-my-kid-gonna-survive stuff. Yes, there was illness, and fridges that broke down with $200 worth of food inside, and 30 hours in the car together, and some of the scariest interpersonal conflict I’ve ever stepped in.

The mayhem was there.
It was real.
I stood in the middle of it with both feet planted, alternating between “just breathe” and “fuck it, just bring it!”

Magic and Mayhem –they live in the selfsame place, friends.
One breath, stars. The next, meltdown.
One moment bliss. The next, terror.

It gives me whiplash sometimes, the way life turns on a dime. The way it tricks you into thinking there is no such thing as Solid.  The very bullying, bossy, pushed-around nature of it all send me flailing some times — flapping about with arms and ankles, trying to find a foothold, a place to grab and hang on.

It may be that I’m just not sufficiently enlightened, but I don’t think there’s a way to live without the Mayhem. It comes without bidding. It comes unannounced. If we insist that the only successful, happy life is one without mayhem, we lose it all, don’t we? We lose the joy of sinking really deeply into the Magic – because Magic requires honesty, requires vulnerability, requires truth—and we can’t get that when we are denying the reality of being upset. We can’t access it when we are on the defense all the time, trying to keep the crazy at bay.

And we miss the lesson of the Mayhem as well. The iron-sharpens-iron of challenge. The opportunity to say, “Okay, you have something to teach me? Show me, Mayhem.” The chance to acknlowedge that yes, trial by fire is part of our becoming.

So what’s the solution? What’s the response to this whiplash? How do we live in the hot and the cold of it, the ebb and the flow of it? How do we thrive in the magic and the mayhem?

Ritual, friends. It has so much to do with ritual.

Rituals are truth telling devices.
In the middle of Magic they say, “Look! Notice. That’s real, that beauty. You made space for that. That gift came to you.  Say, ahhhhh……”
In the midst of Mayhem they say, “You’re here. You’re safe. There is ground beneath your feet.”

We have rituals all over the place, you and I. Or at least we have baby rituals, embryotic rituals, waiting to get born. We can find them. We can name them. We can help them grow.

And it won’t be hard either. It won’t be complicated. It will take some practice. Repetition. Intention. But it can be done. And oh, friends, it so worth it.

So let’s keep talking about rituals for awhile shall we? I’ll write about mine, you tell me about yours.

I’m not sure how long this will go on. But I know it’s going to be good.

Thanks for being here with me, my magpie friend. Because it’s like I always say, “There’s nowhere to go, but together.”

See you tomorrow and Much Warmth,

Rachelle Mee-Chapman
*your magpie girl

Jen Bailey September 9, 2014 at 3:39 am

This insightful post reminds me of this quote: “What is joy without sorrow? What is health without illness? You have to experience each if you are to appreciate the other. There is always going to be suffering. It’s how you look at your suffering, how you deal with it, that will define you.”
-Mark Twain

It’s like we’re often balancing our lives and hearts on a Dr. Seuss-Cat-in-the-Hat-Style of balls, umbrellas, books, teacups, saucers and a goldfish bowl. Exciting and terrifying! I’m so grateful to have found your blog. May you find the magic in your day, today.-Jen

Rachelle September 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Thanks so much Jen. I appreciate your kind blessing. (Lots of mayhem lately, so I’ll take the good wishes!)

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