What is Zen-Chaos?
Finding the calm in the storm
What this Site is About
I have been drawing since I was a young child and over the years my style has progressed into drawings which are random-chaotic; in that, I do not plan out in advance what I am going to draw. However, at the same time, the act of drawing is very relaxing and meditative for me. That’s where the Zen comes into play.
I have also been an avid writer for most of my life, starting with personal journals and moving onto self-help and alternative healing articles. I have been involved in creative writing roleplay for more than two decades–at one time running my own online creative writing roleplay forums–before progressing into writing and publishing my own books. And my writing follows a similar random-chaotic pattern as my drawings, as in I do not plan out my stories in advance. I begin with a very loose concept in mind, and then I write whatever comes to me at the moment; the story creating itself, and somehow, in the end, becoming a coherent whole.
I decided to add some of my kalimba music to my blog which is played on an African tuned karimba (one type of kalimba instrument).
I started playing about three and a half years ago, and the first song, My Song 1 is the first song I’ve ever composed; though it didn’t come to me all at once. It was a work in progress over the span of months. And the second song, My Song 2 is, in fact, the second part of the first song which I didn’t compose until about a year ago. I recorded them separately, however, which is why the second song sounds like it starts in the middle of something else; it does, the first song.
I did not compose the other songs listed, but they are my personal renditions of short riffs that I liked from my kalimba music book, sometimes altered to my liking or combined with other riffs. I don’t write the music I compose down because, like my writing and drawing, I like the randomness of it, where each time I play, it’s just a little different.
A Glimpse Inside my Mind
Some who might have been following my story Wolf might be feeling frustrated or even annoyed that I have cut the story short; my attention going in a new direction. But this is how my mind works. It is constantly changing and shifting to a new direction, where I will get snippets of stories coming to mind, begin to write them down, then a new idea comes to mind. Sometimes the new idea is a slight variation of what I had been writing, or sometimes it is something entirely different; maybe not even a story but a new doodle.
Imagine how frustrated I feel on a near-constant basis. When I was a child and young adult, I had no trouble focusing on a single task. In fact, I was quite headstrong in completing every task before allowing myself to move onto a new interest. But as I have grown older that stubborn determination to force myself to the end has more and more begun to fade away.
More and more, I have been struggling with my inability to focus solely on one task. It takes a great effort for me to complete an entire book when my intent is to complete an entire book. I realize now that all the complete books I have written were products of me having no intention of writing a book but were instead snippets of writing here and there that over the course of time ended up revealing a book.
And that really feels good to have that sense of completion when it comes to me on its own as opposed to me forcing it; to see my snippets of attention come together into a coherent whole. What doesn’t feel good to me is then having to go through the process of editing and proofing my books in an attempt for perfection so that others can enjoy what I have written. If I could put my books out there uncaring of what people think of the typos and grammatically errors, my author page on Facebook would be full of books I have written. That search for perfectionism causes so much stress to where I have deleted more complete books than anyone can begin to imagine, simply because I suddenly feel overwhelmed and have to mentally clean-house.
Joey Sheets, a good friend of mine, after expressing my frustrations to him, had suggested to me to just publish what I write in its raw form; for me to become famous for being “the author who doesn’t proof or edit her work”. I laughed, but the truth is I yearn for that. By the way; Thank you for being okay with who I am Joey.
I won’t deny that a large part of my distaste of the proofing and editing process hinges on laziness. I simply hate the process, and I am getting to an age where I no longer want to force myself to do something I hate when it involves my passion. There are plenty of things in life that you have to force yourself to do but that should apply to necessities, never to your passion because then instead of it being your passion it has become a chore. Yes, I know there are editors out there but that is not an option I can afford as of yet.
A large part of not following my heart–my nature–hinges on my fear that there will be people who are not going to like what I am putting out there, or worse criticize it. I fear that if I express who I truly am that any negative criticism is a rejection of who I am. I think that is a fear we all have as humans–having someone reject who we are as a person.
But I am now coming to realize that this random-chaotic nature is simply how my mind works. It is who I am; who I have always been though I’ve been fighting it in an effort to be “normal”. I am coming to realize that other people’s criticism of how I express myself is simply their view of me. It is not me. It is how they see me through their own eyes and experience. Untidiness, indecisiveness, laziness, or whatever they might feel negatively toward my process causes discomfort in themselves, and to ease that discomfort they feel the need for me to change so that they can feel comfortable again. That is all negative criticism really is; someone feeling uncomfortable and expressing that discomfort.
I now see this blog as an opportunity to let go of my fears of exposing who I truly am. This is an opportunity for me to learn to accept any negative criticism as merely being a sign that who I am is making someone else uncomfortable, not a sign that there is something wrong with who I am. It is an opportunity for me to be able to feel compassion for that other person’s discomfort rather than feel the need to fight back in self-defense by trying to explain, rationalize, or change who I am in order to conform to “normality”. This is an opportunity for me to remain steadfast and true to who I am–a random-chaotic individual. And in so doing, to express compassion for myself, knowing that is okay for me to be this way even if it makes other people uncomfortable; even if it makes me uncomfortable.
How this opportunity is going to express itself on my blog, I have no firm idea at the moment, and there may never be a firm idea. It may change day to day, moment to moment. There may be moments, days, weeks or months where I crave structure and others where I’m all over the place, tossing the snippets of my mind here and there, making a chaotic mess. Or there may be times where I am still and have nothing to put out there. But structure, chaos or stillness… Welcome to my mind.