Peace in The Chaos

I’m lying in my warm bed a little bit longer this morning. It’s quiet. The sheets, blankets, and duvet have become another layer of my being. I’m awake, but I haven’t opened my eyes. I don’t want to see anything. I just want to be. I take some deep breaths. I think about breathing in a new day. I think about exhaling my worries of yesterday. This is a new day. A new start. I’m in control of my life. I get to choose how I feel. I get to choose how I treat people. I get to choose who holds space in my mind. I’m not in control of how my past has affected me or what my future might hold, but I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole. I only want to focus on this moment. I want to focus on what I am grateful for. I want to focus on the things in my power.

I slowly open my eyes and see the sunrise peeking through the white and blue sheer curtains that adorn my bedroom window. I find the colors of this sunrise mesmerizing. I focus on the coral hue that effortlessly sits in between the pink and orange. With each blink of my eyes, the sunrise seems to change. Within minutes, the coral I‘ve been fascinated by seems to fade into the background. I see only orange and yellow now. I’m grateful for my bedroom. I’m grateful for the location of this window. What a beautiful way to begin the day.

I close my eyes once more. Before I commit to getting out of bed, I want to fully embrace and enjoy the silence.

The dogs are sleeping. My children are visiting their father. And I’m alone. I’m far from lonely, but I’m the only human here. I’m grateful for this moment. I’m grateful for the respite. It juxtaposes the chaos of normal life. And I’m grateful to be able to experience both.

I slip out of bed and head to my dresser. I’m ready to change from my bedtime pajamas to my daytime pajamas. I open my pants drawer and notice only a few pairs of my not-so-favorite loungewear available. One pair is a little too short, and it’s too cold for exposing my ankles. The other pair is a bit too tight, but I keep them because I may be thinner one day. And there are a few pairs I haven’t worn in well over a year – and likely won’t ever again. But I haven’t managed to part with them yet.

I look in the corner and see four laundry baskets filled with clean clothes. I’ve been neglecting them for almost a week now. I don’t mind doing laundry, but folding it is such a drag. I dig through the first basket, and a few socks and pairs of kids’ underwear fly out of the basket onto the floor. I find what I’m looking for and then clean up the mess I’ve left behind. I head to the sock drawer and uncover the same low inventory issue. So, I go back to digging in the baskets. I should try to fold this tonight.

I head into the kitchen to make myself some coffee. I fill up my reusable Keurig K-cup with my favorite ground dark roast. I hit the brew button and walk over to my Great Dane’s XL stainless steel bowl to dump four-and-a-half cups of kibble in it. I begin to smell the aroma of my glorious bean juice, but the sound is off. I glance over and notice I’ve forgotten to put a cup under the machine! I quickly grab a cup and place it under the spout in a coffee puddle. Next, I grab some towels and clean up the mess.

And my day continues at the same manageable level of chaos. There are a few issues with clients. A nasty email from my ex-husband. My Great Dane pukes four-and-a-half cups of regurgitated dog food onto the carpet. And when the workday finally concludes, as I reach for a wine glass, I drop it on the floor and watch it shatter into pieces. I’m thankful that was prior to its being filled with its namesake. I turn on some peaceful music and clean up the shards of glass.

I can’t control what happens on any given day, but I can control how I react.

I get another glass from the cabinet and try once more. I carefully carry my full glass into the living room. I pick up Inward by yung pueblo. It’s a wonderful book of poems, and some days I need to just pick a random page, read it, and try to understand the message. Today was one of those days.

“when chaos is all around you

the wisest choice is to create

peace within you

your peace shines outward

and supports the creation

of a new harmony”

I take a deep breath. What a perfect poem to begin my evening. And then I remember the sunrise from this morning. I remember how calm and grateful I was. I try to hold onto those moments to bring myself back.

And no, I won’t fold the laundry. Not tonight. It won’t bring me peace.

I take another deep breath. I’m grateful for that poem. I’m grateful it found me tonight. I cannot stop the chaos from stirring around me. But I can create some peace within me.


JoAnna Bennett
JoAnna Bennett
Mother, Marketer, Writer, and Reader. I’m a mother of two wonderful little humans. I’m also an avid reader, an insatiable learner, and a self-acknowledged survivor. I’m grateful to work at O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) because I’ve learned the self-soothing and restorative craft of writing. I used to resist calling myself a writer because I have a finance degree. I naively thought I needed an English degree to effectively express myself in writing. But now, writer is a title I proudly wear, and writing is something I’ll practice for the rest of my life.

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  1. Sometimes you just have to step back and stop. And start over.

    As to the laundry, I’m with you. The clean pile becomes like that plant in “Little Shop Around the Corner”: fold me…fold me… So I’ve taken to folding while I watch MSNBC at 4pm EST. The “news” of the day – conspiracy theories, impeachment, arrests – become a lovely distraction. Before I know it, everything is folded. And no orphan socks!

    Thanks for a beautiful message.

    • Thank you Jeff! No orphan socks??? I need to learn you secrets!

      And when I finally give in on the weekend, I turn on some relaxing music and get into it. But I still don’t like it! LOL And I wait until I have no more laundry baskets to fill when I start.

      Here’s to trying to stop and redirect whenever necessary.

    • Thank you Larry. I learned the hard way (seems to be my preferred leaning mechanism) that peace comes from the inside. The outside world can’t affect you unless you let it. It was hard to let go of the notion that peace had to be around me to experience it. But now that I have, I try to find a little peace in each day – no matter what.

  2. What a beautiful read, Joanna. I could almost feel myself right next to you enjoying the sunrise and the smell of coffee.

    But I fell off with the laundry. I know my mother hated it, only worse thing was ironing.

    I cheat: I don’t call it a chore.

    As a teenager I did all the ironing – without being asked! It got me out of being asked to do a lot of chores I would have liked less. And while I was ironing I would never be disturbed but could let my mind wonder wherever it wanted to go. So I can’t claim it was mindful ironing or laundry folding – I will try that some time – it was a guilt-free daydreaming break.

    Still today, over 40 years later, I can’t control that the hamper fills up, but I can control how I respond to it.

    • This gives me the perfect idea! I will have to teach my chlidren how to fold the laundry!

      Thank you!

      In all seriousness, when I get down to it, I usually place some music and get it done. The worst part for me is how many little kid clothes fit in one laundry basket! There are so many pants and shirts to fold. And thankfully COVID has kept my iron away. I don’t think I’ve used it once this year. I suppose that’s one benefit of staying home all the time.

      • How old are the owners of the small socks?
        Make it a game. Everything is more fun if it is a game. The person who finished first gets to choose dinner tomorrow.

        Or use it for homeschooling:
        Color theory: Let’s take all the green stuff first. Is teal green or blue?
        Math: How many socks are in 4 pairs?
        Memory: Where do the socks go when they are folded?
        English: How do you spell socks?
        Chemistry: How do the socks smell?
        Ecology: Where does the lint go if we don’t empty the dryer filter?

  3. A remarkable, thought-provoking and inspirational topic.
    A fundamental distinction, which we find formulated in the Stoic doctrine, is that between the things that depend on us and the things that do not depend on us. In this distinction lies the key to ours
    freedom and the ability to act wisely and effectively for our well-being.
    A general strategy for dealing with a situation of extreme uncertainty or chaos is to do everything possible to bring us back to the world of the finite, to things as they really are in our real world, to concrete situations that we can control.

  4. What a wonderful description of peace. It highlights to me how different we all see peace – which is a good thing. I value the nuances of diversity. To me, my peace would have been everything that to you, is chaos. I have had to learn how to turn that off, and I have various techniques, some which work well and others are just a pipe dream.

    But it is all about how each of us bring something different to this weird world, and through the lens of others, have our thoughts stretched.

    Thanks for this.

    • Yes! On so many levels. Our contributions to this world are as varied as our definitions of peace. A lot of children’s books that I read to my kiddos center around the idea of being true to yourself because there is only one you. And the world needs you – just as you are.

      We learn so often to cover our authentic selves with masks and ideas of what we think others want us to be. But it is so freeing to let all of that go.

      I’m good enough just as I am. Great affirmation for me today. <3