"order and change"

by dr. susan nettleton


Our human capacity for establishing order through patterns, categories, priorities and routines is a crucial building block in society.  It allows us to sustain a life that is stable and safe.  Through order and routine, we are able to provide for our basic needs and take care of others in a highly complex world.  Without such “executive functioning” (the neurological term) our lives can deteriorate.  Life becomes increasing chaotic, erratic and unpredictable.    But life that is too “ordered” loses its dynamic quality.   Change often disrupts our personal order.   Without the disruption of change, life eventually becomes blunted and bland.  A rigid fear of chaos that never allows for disruption prevents creativity and new life.   The ideal, of course, is to be able to have our life orderly, but be willing to let the order fall apart when it’s time for change, and then come into a new sense of order.   And really this is the way new life and renewal of life happens. But all our human fears and need for control, our expectations and demands, tend to make that process more difficult than it needs to be.  As we learn to trust the Spiritual, the Unseen movement of life, the Order that underlies change, we become more resilient. We develop the skill of turning inward, even in chaos, to learn what this new situation coming into form requires of us now.  When faced with the new, we know what to do and we can do it.