I have a little crazy in me. I keep him in a nice padded room next to my heart. But I don’t keep the door locked. We have an understanding. He’s free to come out and take over whenever needed. Everything works fine so far as he follows the rules we’ve established.
Everything has a place; a natural fit, where it creates harmony. When I was younger, a friend and I would always comment, upon seeing couples get together that were seemingly unlikely pairs, “See there’s somebody for everybody.” On the other hand, everyone doesn’t flow together. Not everybody can be friends.
This is not to say there isn’t value in discomfort. The world can only move forward when we can work with people who we don’t agree with or respect. From the moment we are pushed from the womb, we enter into chaos. Some people spend their whole lives trying to recreate that bubble of comfort, of love and of harmony. But only when we enter into chaos can we grow.
I used to give my crazy freer reign. People were afraid to mess with the beast that was me. My bosses gave other employees rules on engaging with me. Bosses liked me because my crazy could always get things done – extra efficiently. Getting things done may come at the cost of harmony, but when it’s more about the job than the relationships, harmony tends to be the first thing discarded.
I’ve always been a rule follower. Rules create order. In my work environment I have a place for everything. If someone comes into my workspace and moves things around, it creates a disturbance within me that I try to suppress so as not to appear obsessive. But I will always put things back. Whether I can wait until the person leaves, so as not to embarrass myself, is determined only by my mood and patience on that day.
I think I was the only kid that I knew who was very affected by Nancy Regan’s, “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign. The problem was that I loved counterculture people, many of whom used drugs. If ever I heard about drug use I would be like, “Just say no, man.” Maybe that’s why, although I had enough friends, I was never invited to parties.
It is a strange thing to be counter button-up-society in pretty much every way, but still be a rule follower. It has landed me in about the perfect spot for my particular personality. I live in an ashram in India. For an American to come to an ashram in India, by and large, they have to be pretty liberal. But for an Indian to live in an ashram in India, they would be, by and large, pretty conservative. I mean liberal in the sense of nonconformist and conservative in the sense of a love for tradition. A beautiful mix of custom and rebellion defines the lines that we walk trying to keep order in the chaos we’ve created.
Seeing this swirl of instability play out, both on the inside and outside of me, keeps me on edge while allowing me to gain the strength to meet whatever challenges life throws my way. It is an emotional boot camp that prepares us for the spiritual battleground.
I used to let my crazy take over until it became an embarrassment to me. While I called it being free, others called it unhinged. At some point, I realized that I could only be free around people whom I felt safe with; people that I didn’t think were going to try and bring me down. I made a conscious decision to conform. But that decision comes at a price. When people don’t fear you, some choose to try and walk over you. Now, when situations arise that I don’t like, I smile first. I think, “They wouldn’t have done this when I was younger.” I warn them. And every now and again, when warranted, I give my crazy a guest appearance. But he doesn’t have to be asked. He knows when it’s time. We have an understanding.
The trick that we all have to learn is to find harmony in the chaos; to let most of the things that want to scream inside, because they seem out of place, relax. We have to find ways to adapt and adjust to the ever-changing world around us, that doesn’t just give our peace away.
A friend once told me that I redefine passive aggressive because I’m either completely passive or completely aggressive. I try to let things go. I try to understand that everybody is different and just let everyone be themselves and do things in their own way. But when others just keep pushing on that bubble I insulate myself in, or push on it just once, but too hard, then I will transform into my beastly self. The beast will take over until I start to notice that I’m drawing a crowd, confused at what all of the ruckus is about. I pretty much have to be shocked out of my crazy, although I’m usually shocked into it as well. But I use my crazy as a deterrent lest people fail to understand that, although passive, I’m not to be walked over.
Everything has a place; a natural fit, where it creates harmony. But this world is a battleground and most of the pieces are broken. If we’re looking for harmony to start outside of ourselves, we may be waiting the whole of our lives for it. We have to first mold ourselves into peaceful warriors that can fit in anywhere, and then maybe we’ll have a chance at a peace that will last. And, maybe then, our crazy can finally retire to a beach in our past.