Navigating chaos by saving the worms

As I watched the snow fall yesterday after a 65 degree day on Friday, I’m reminded of the dramatic Montana weather. Just like life, it can change drastically from easy peasy to downright challenging. 

I experienced this last month when the City of Bozeman came to replace the underground 90 year old lead and galvanized water pipes to my house from the city’s main water system.

Lots of planning went into this, and I entered the week of digging with clear sight and a calm system. 

However, having an old house can uncover a can of worms when something gets moved or changed or dug up…

There were 4, 6 foot deep holes and trenches dug that week – 2 in my yard, 2 in the street. As I watched the excavator breaking up asphalt and moving dirt, my stomach tightened. Life started to feel out of control. Oh, little i was having a fit inside! 

I decided the way I could give myself some sense of control or relief was to dig in the dirt, right next to the excavator. I know, funny, right? And I wasn’t just moving dirt, I was SAVING THE WORMS. Even more funny, right? 

I wanted to create peace from the chaos. I wanted to have some sort of saving Grace for all that was being torn apart in my yard. So in came the worms.

It reminded me of the movie Seven Years in Tibet when Brad Pitt was beside himself that the Buddhist Monks were saving the worms while they were building a structure for the Dalai Lama. “What are you DOING?” he exclaimed in frustration.

Only Pat, the project foreman for my water pipes, just smiled as he wheeled the excavator next to me and over my lawn to get another scoop of soil from the hole. “One more worm saved,” I said to myself as I plopped it into the dirt.

At this point, the plumber was inside changing pipes out and around, until he came outside and said to Pat, “We have a problem.”

The worms and I stopped moving. I turned my head to listen in, “The water pipe blew apart on me and there’s water leaking into the basement.” 

“SHIT!” I thought to myself, the knot in my stomach getting tighter.

Pat leapt up like his pants were on fire, grabbed the long tool to see if he could turn off the old main from the outside shutoff by the sidewalk, but it wasn’t working properly (can of worms factor unfolding before my eyes). 

We all ran inside to see. It was like time stood still – watching water leaking like an open faucet into my beautiful nicely carpeted and finished basement bedroom. The knot moved up into my throat.

Pat called the city shop for some modern plumbing parts, which arrived minutes later. They hooked them up, but the water continued to leak out.

They then took my garden hose and attached it to the new parts and ran it into my floor drain until they could come the next morning and dig up the old water line in the street to “kill” it. 

Can of worms factor slows down. Thankfully. 

A young man from Buffalo Restoration water clean up remediation shows up 2 days later to clean it up and run the fans to dry things out.

As he was leaving my house I said, “Thank you so much for your help. It’s been a stressful week.” Tears welled up in my eyes. 

He looks at me and says, “Take a breath.” 

OH, where wisdom comes from when you need it the most! I smiled with his words and clarity.

When the chaos from the week died down (the holes filled back up, the plants re-planted, the asphalt and concrete refilled, and my bedroom dried out and put back together), I took several deep breaths. 

Life is so much like that. It is forever changing. Moving into and out of chaos and order. We can’t control it, but we try (me included). The discomfort that comes with the chaos feels yucky, so we want to move away from it. A very human desire and understandable.

What we do in the midst of the inevitable discomfort is what matters.

One breath, two breaths, a daily hot shower, 5 minutes of meditation, a walk with the dog, baking your favorite muffins (I’ve really gotten into this), connecting from the heart with a friend, singing, saving worms, drawing, crying, laughing, having a melt down, whatever it is that helps you release and feel grounded in the chaos to ride the wave of discomfort that it brings. 

What we sometimes forget is that both inner and outer chaos is the messy birthing of creativity, of newness.

The birth of a baby is chaos, the ending of a relationship is chaos, the making of muffins is chaos, rearranging furniture is chaos, changing jobs is chaos, dying is chaos. We must have chaos to move through the changes and create anew. 

American cartoonist Jok Church said, “Chaos does not mean total disorder. Chaos means a multiplicity of possibilities. Chaos is from the ancient Greek word that means a thing that is birthed from the void. And it is about that which is possible, not about disorder.”  

Next summer will bring new plants in my yard, new landscaping, and a freshness my yard hasn’t seen in many years. I’m also super grateful to the city for giving me new copper pipes to my 90 year old home. 

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

A start on more of what’s to come next summer in my yard 🙂

Categories: Creativity, Feminine Power, Inner Wisdom & Intuition, Stress & Anxiety

About the Author: Angela Patnode

My passion, my calling, is for you to be totally you. Through private coaching, in-depth retreats, and online group coaching programs, I help you tap into your intuition and clarify your desires and vision, I guide you to take active steps toward making your desires a reality.

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