• Jill Brocklehurst

Chaos as a Source of Creativity

“Life begins with chaos and the answer to chaos is creativity”


I read a book called, Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age, by Bruce Feiler. He says life is a river of experiences. It is non-linear. Although we are conditioned to think that there is a linear flow to life (go to school, get a job, get married, have 1.2 kids, a dog and a cat, retire, become a grandparent, and then have some fun…. oh, and die at the perfect time, in the perfect way), linearity is an apparition made of artificial constructs. Each life is unique and is filled with story.

One such story is the story of our now-former building at 516 S. Dogwood St. It was constructed in 1992 and run by the Elks Club. It had a bar, horse race betting and darts…. People rented the space for weddings and funerals, and rock bands played loud music while onlookers ate hamburgers and french fries. And then the Elks dissolved. That time was over. There must have been those that held on and didn’t want it to end, however, for the building had started to show signs of a LONG goodbye.

Then we came along, the Centre for Inspired Living, and we started a new story. Our so-called “messy middle” was messy… REALLY MESSY… as we had lots of clean up, and so many renovations to do. It took about a year to get all the work done. After the mess of transition, though, there was flow, once again… the building adjusted, changed and flourished. It breathed life and welcomed fresh possibility… until the day came when it was OUR time to say goodbye.

In his book, Bruce Feiler notes that there are 3 main stages of life, that we live in any order, and in any combination. He also cautions that we can stay too long in any of the 3 phases. (I think that what may have happened to the Elks in the Dogwood building is that they got a bit stuck… and the building showed it).

Here are the three stages:

  1. Long goodbyes

  2. Messy middles

  3. New beginnings

Feiler’s book suggests that the effects of getting stuck are what happens when we misplace the plot of our own story…. That story isn’t just a part of us, IT IS US… at least, it is what we believeabout who we are. (This is called Narrative Psychology: When we tell stories, we create meaning from Life. We bring situations and people together through the shared experience of story telling).

Like the Elks in the Dogwood building, our Centre, too, has its own narrative… its own non-linear journey, filled with its own meaning. January 31st, 2022 we ended the 516 S. Dogwood chapter of the Centre. And, while I don’t want to drag out the “long goodbye”, I do want to take this opportunity to honour the stories held by our members and friends through the time we held space in this location.

I have a particularly fond memory of one of my birthdays, for instance. Some of the Centre members hired a dunk tank and held a “sink the minister” fundraiser. What fun we had together! I laugh when I remember how, at some point, Eric showed up in a shark suit and chased me around the parking lot! And there are so many more life-filled memories that we all share! (What are yours? We’d love to hear them).

But what happens when we lose the plot of our own personal story? We can feel lost or hopeless, or like we are somehow doing life ‘wrong’. We hold on too long. We are afraid of what might be next, or we can’t even picture it. The solution is to go within.

A long, long time ago humans use to live lives ruled by the seasons. We were people of the land; living off the Earth, in tune with the cycles of nature which, although cyclical, are not necessarily linear… there is always motion and change, highs and lows. I want to normalize non-linearity; remembering that Life doesn’t have a beginning where it is robust, followed by a peak at “middle age” and then all going downhill from there. Life is always simply what we are living right now…. It is not what we expect it to be…. It is what it IS! There is no such thing as, ‘suppose to be’.

Bruce Feiler did the math and, after his research, concluded that we all experience many disrupters and minor interruptions to our daily lines of living. In fact, his claim is that we all will experience 3 to 5 “Life Quakes” in our times, as well; larger, more transitional life changes or shifts. Each Life Quake, he estimates, may last 4 to 5 years. Given these numbers, we will spend about half our adult lives in transition. That is something worth giving some thought to, as you consider how your life is unfolding. It is also worth remembering that, though all may cause “disruptions” to our anticipated directions in Life, not all transitions are negative events. Some are even voluntary…. Moving the Centre is definitely a disruptor, but it is also a voluntary, positive event.


Metaphysician, Ernest Holmes, in The Science of Mind, wrote, "To suppose that the Creative Intelligence of the Universe would create humanity in bondage and leave them bound would be to dishonour the Creative Power of the Universe. To suppose that humanity is individual, but has no way to discover themselves, would be to suppose an impossibility. Individuality must be spontaneous; it can never be automatic”.

There is a Creative Principle of Life working through us. But, when we hold on at any stage where Life urges us to transition, we restrict Flow and thus, we prepare the ground for disharmony. This is, often, when “disrupters” show up - assisting us in moving along our path (whether we feel ready for it yet or not).

Perhaps the time has come for the days to be over when we teach our children that there is a straight path to Life… a “right” path to follow that will take them to the “perfect” end destination. Such stories are the perpetuation of a lie. Life has never been like this, and never will be. Times of uncertainty and times of change are so important. We can know this simply by noticing how many book store shelves are lined with such best sellers as these (just to name a few):

  • Fail fast, Fail Often

  • Gifts of Imperfection

  • Playing Big

  • Entering the Castle

  • Living by Grace

  • Untamed

  • Thriving Through Uncertainty

Referring once again to the writings of Ernest Holmes, here is more wisdom from that profound teacher: ‘Love is spontaneous. Our words are powerful and set an immutable Law in motion, and that motion is directed by our creative and spontaneous self’. We can trust Life, in all its twists and turns… and trust ourselves to navigate it.

What a wonderful ride we are on! We are writing our own stories by deciding how we show up in every moment of every day. And through it all, we are offered profound opportunities to tune into our inner compasses and listen to the inner callings that direct us towards our ever- expanding Good.

As mystics throughout the ages have talked of, I, too, know there is an inherent harmony of the Universe… of this planet, of humanity. I also know that, as we wake up to our own inner guidance, we become part of a new story, a new way of being together on this great, non-linear path of Creation.

I cannot control the outcome of all Life. Nor can anyone else. BUT, when we fully let go into the realm of Possibility, we ‘free-fall’ to our greatest heights! We may feel we are separate from others on the journey, but the truth is, though we each have our own unique creative spark, we do this not alone, but together!


Copyright (C) 2022 Centre For Inspired Living - Campbell River. All rights reserved.

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