Category Archives: chaos

The Power of… Not Engaging?

Don’t Engage.
Don’t Engage.
Don’t Engage.

This has been my mantra of sorts for a while now. It’s the phrase I hear in my head (always repeated three times) when I am waffling between commenting on something in social media, or jumping into the fray of some in-person drama. Usually, I have the presence of mind to steer clear, but sometimes I make the mistake of chiming in… when chiming in is the worst decision I could have made. Hence, I created a phrase to help remind me of the importance – and power – of not engaging.

Lately, interestingly, I’ve found that I’ve been teaching and sharing this powerful (non)tool more and more often. The problem I see is that people are feeling worn out emotionally, which spills over into our daily lives and diminishes our patience and tolerance for others (aka: our compassion).

Choosing a path of non-engagement preserves our compassion and amplifies our energy.

Let me clarify that “non-engagement” is not the same as disengagement. Disengagement implies a level of not caring, or apathy. It’s a “head-in-the-sand” mentality. Non-engagement is about witnessing. It’s about watching, learning, seeing, reading, and understanding from a neutral perspective so that your emotions (your energy) is not sucked into the mayhem and chaos, thereby depleting you or lowering your vibration.

Non-engagement helps to keep you in alignment with who you are, while also allowing you to have ample amounts of energy to choose where, when, and how to engage. This is key. This means that you can direct your focus and your energy into that which you wish to fuel, and THAT is where the power lies.

When you accept that you can CHOOSE where, how, and to what you wish to give your energy, life becomes infinitely more possible. It’s okay to not engage in the battles. All activism is not necessarily good activism, especially if the activists are constantly feeling depleted. This is why it’s important to know where your heart resides, and pursue that. If it’s animal protection and rescue – do that. If it’s politics – do that. If it’s the environment – do that. If it’s not activism – that’s okay too.

And if someone tells you that you need to be more active in a different arena, it’s okay to tell them that you have already chosen where you are giving your energy and attention. This is what it means to be empowered, to stand in your boots. It’s about knowing that…

…You can choose what you give your energy to;
…You can choose not to engage in the chaos; and
…You can choose to let the trauma-drama train pass you by.


Engagement is a choice. Non-engagement is a choice, and both are acceptable. In fact, both are necessary if you wish to have the energy, compassion, and presence to engage where your heart leads. If we engage in chaos, we fuel chaos. Because, remember: Where we choose to engage, we fuel.


A Desert Sojourn

Last week I donned my old retailing hat and went to Vegas to help my friend set up trade show booths for his clients. Before I helped people change their lives, I used to be a Buyer and Fashion Stylist. While I’ve left the retail job behind, twice a year I get to be a stylist again by helping my friend. It’s nice to use a different skill set now and then. Refreshing, even.

What’s more refreshing, however, is taking a break from our daily lives in order to do/see/experience something totally new and extraordinary. On this recent trip, we had just such an opportunity.

We found ourselves with a day off in the midst of the chaos, and so we went out of the city and explored the high desert and mountains surrounding the electrified valley. The juxtaposition was somewhat difficult to comprehend. In hindsight, however, I see it as much more symbolic of our lives than not.

On the one hand, we all seem to live busy outward lives, filled with work, family, friends, technology, physical exertion, and mental exhaustion/ (I know I do.) On the other hand, and in almost the same space, we seek out opportunities for calm, ease, and grace, such as walks in nature, meditation, a massage, long talks with old friends, and breathing. (I definitely do.)

This juxtaposition of inner peace and external stress has become almost common in our culture. It’s a balance that is not always easily maintained, however, because there are no firm lines. Whereas, in the desert, the lines are very clear. You know exactly when you are leaving the external chaos behind and entering the calm of nature, and vice versa.

But, because the line is so firmly drawn, it made it even harder for me to transition between the two last week. Going from a heartbreakingly beautiful landscape devoid of noise or human presence directly into the lines at an In-N-Out Burger was overwhelming, at best. As you can imagine, I didn’t last long, and we moved outside to eat, which was somewhat quieter and easier.

So, I guess the bottom line is this: We all live busy externally-focused lives in one way or another, and we all have an internal longing for or knowing of peace and calm. How we transition between the two is where we find opportunities for change, growth, and understanding. And ultimately, it’s where we will find the answers in how to merge the two into one presence, that softens the inherent juxtaposition.

All this from a trip to the desert followed by a burger. 😉

And now…here are some of my favorite pics from our excursion. Truly, if you ever go to Vegas, it’s worth it to spend a little time outside the city limits. You may feel lost in the vast expanse, but I think you’ll find more than you could ever imagine.

Finding Calm in Chaos

Calm in a time of chaos.

Ok, so here’s the thing: this week, my blog is “late.” The question I had to ask myself, though was: late by whose standards?

My weekly blog has a deadline for delivery on Tuesday mornings at 8:15am Central time. This is a self-imposed deadline that I created a long time ago to a) deliver to my readers consistently, and b) hold myself accountable in accordance with my goals and mission.

But here’s the thing about deadlines and life, sometimes they need to be modified and flexible.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling the chaos in the world lately. From deaths, to anger, to frustration and fear, I’ve been picking up on most everything like a giant satellite dish. This is nothing new for me. It’s one of my gifts, and I am grateful for it. However, there are times (like now) when it gets wonky and a bit out of control. My barometers remind me that something is out of whack, and I need to take a step back.

So, this week, that meant that I sort of stepped away from everything, including my blog. And… I thought about it and realized that this was ok.

As we head into a traditionally busy season, I think this is an important message for me to share: it’s ok.

It’s ok to take a step back.
It’s ok to not do something you were meaning to do.
It’s ok to say no.
It’s ok to take time for yourself.
It’s ok to choose something different.

Typically, the holidays are a time when we overbook, overcommit, overindulge, and overtire ourselves. Why? Because we feel a sense of obligation, or we have a desire or are inspired, to do more. “More” often results in feelings of chaos.

So, this week, I’m here to say that chaos is the end result of chronic misalignment over an extended period of time. And it’s ok to put on the brakes, take stock, and choose something different. If that means the pies are store bought, that’s great. I mean, it’s pie! It’s all good! If that means the presents have stick-on bows, also cool. Again… presents! It’s all good.

It also means that if you need to take 5 (or 35) minutes for yourself and do absolutely nothing, that’s ok too. And if a deadline happens to fly by, and it’s not life-threatening, it’s ok. It’s always ok.

Finding the calm in the midst of chaos is about giving yourself permission to make a different decision.