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Chaos and Void

111. Chaos and Void

Chaos and void are resources to be used. In my first experience in a clowning workshop, this was one of my learnings—a new concept for me at that time. There was a social-action clown from the midwest named Tom Woodward. Here’s what he said:

“God created heaven and earth out of chaos and void. Never neglect either of those as a resource. We are not called to be effective. We are called to be disciplined. Take an idea and give it some space.”

My reaction to chaos is often a panic to create order quickly. My reaction to void is sometimes to fill it up immediately. If I can slow myself down, sometimes I can see that there is potential for insight and growth in both chaos and void. I just need to look at them as a potential resource.

I find this in writing. I can face a piece of paper and it feels like total void—total emptiness. And I can panic and go feed the dog. Or—I can stay with the blankness of the paper and see if something emerges.

The same is true of chaos for me. I can tolerate a gathering crowd and comings and goings, and loud talk and fast movement, and I want out—to where things are more simple and calm. And sometimes that’s exactly what I do and seem to need to do—get into a quieter space. But occasionally, I can breathe in the midst of the chattering people and come to a quiet place inside myself. And also occasionally that turns out well and I’m glad I stayed.

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