Don’t we all hide our real selves behind masks? The masks are not necessarily bad things. Some masks are beneficial in that they help prevent unethical and aggressive people from invading our personal boundaries. The masks that are not helpful are those that hide deception towards others or denial of truth in ourselves.
Sometimes I purposely allow my mask of appearing cool and laid-back to slip. This is healthy during those times when somehow my life has crossed the boundary from excitement into pandemonium. The process of being human contains quite a hodgepodge of emotions and thoughts. We have love, envy, fear, contentment, stimulation, boredom, calm, and crisis. These are present in everyone to some extent in various amounts and forms.
“The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies’.”–Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon’s insight is not just about physical conflict and warfare, it can also refer to inner conflict as he probably knew well. He was a complex historical figure with many disagreeable personal qualities yet he also accomplished much good. Napoleon’s constant battle between order and disorder helped make him a fascinating figure for historians. I think we all have a touch of Napoleon somewhere in our minds.
At times, a lot of things can happen all at once in our lives. We might feel as if we’re living in Pandemonium and that it is the “new normal”. We complain that life isn’t working the way it should. After awhile, we realize that we need a time-out. We stop, take some deep, mindful breaths. The calm helps us create some sort of order out of chaos.
Our most difficult times come about in times of personal crisis or loss. The death of a loved one or the break-up of a close relationship leaves us feeling dazed and confused. During those times, we rightfully crave stability and calm. We naturally gravitate towards friends and family for moral support. We learn to better accept that life is often disordered and confusing. We eventually recreate our lives out of the chaos of loss.
Are you one of those people who does something constructive when feelings of pandemonium engulf your mind? Some of us concentrate on domestic chores like cooking and cleaning. Some of us focus on job and career responsibilities. We may harness chaos to enhance creative pursuits in art, music, or hobbies.
When people are unable to bring order out of chaos, it can manifest in unhappiness. Perhaps it is revealed in the form of hoarding or excess clutter. Unhappiness is “medicated” by accumulating stuff, then the overabundance of stuff triggers dissatisfaction and more unhappiness which is soothed by getting more stuff, which causes more unhappiness. This results in chaotic living conditions. Severe hoarders literally live in Pandemonium.
Behind our masks, life will probably always be a matter of a fair amount of chaos. This is why we seek out and create ways to nurture calm and order. The most satisfying techniques are helpful to ourselves and do not bring unhappiness to others.
Too much dynamism brings pandemonium. Too much inertia brings boredom. Life becomes amazing when we learn how to balance the two. We thrive when we create order out of chaos.