Queen of Your Own Life by Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff

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Queen of Your Own Life

Staying Calm in the Middle of Chaos

by Kathy Kinney

We had some terrible leaks during the last rain so we’ve are having a new roof put on the house.  Saying that the experience has been hellish to put it mildly.  Hammering like a herd of stampeding buffalo, loud blaring radio music and we only hear the base beat, strange men on ladders looking in the windows just as I get out of the shower and all of it starting at the crack o’ dawn in the morning .  It has put me a wee bit on edge.  Just sitting at my computer, let alone actually getting something done, has been an act of extreme courage.  Since I have things I would like to accomplish and I don’t want my brain to explode I began to wonder:  what is the best way to stay calm in the middle of chaos?

In the past I have often used my imagination to heal myself.  A lot of people have told me they don’t have a very good imagination but I have a theory.  Any one who has the ability to conjure up visions of the worst that can happen certainly has enough imagination to call up the good things.   Think about it.  Anyway, I tried imagining myself as the Queen quietly sitting in the middle of my castle.  The hammering was so loud that I began to imagine that the castle was under attack by enemy hordes with axes and swords.  Not good.  I tried shifting to an image of myself sitting in the middle of a lovely field in the English countryside.  Beautiful wildflowers and gentle little hedgehogs – being run over by loud Panzer tanks and again, marauding enemy hordes.  My imagination was not helping.

I finally stopped and took a very deep breath and then slowly exhaled.  That’s when I remembered something very important – my goal for myself.  I want to be the kind of woman who lets life pass through with the minimum amount of damage to me.  I want the negative things to just keep on moving through as quickly as possible while keeping all of the good in the world close to me.  I’ve certainly had my share of sadness and disappointment in life.  Now that I’m older I see how everything that happened changed me for the better.  I also realize that I spent way too much time ranting and raving, “Why me?”  I don’t want to waste my time that way anymore because I have so many other things I want to do.

So, it still sounds like there’s a war on my roof but I’m not even taking notice.  For today I choose to let the negative noise of life pass through me and I will hug the quiet close to me.  I give myself this gift because I’m worth it.

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7 Responses to “Staying Calm in the Middle of Chaos”

  1. Kim Hilton says:

    thank you- I am in the middle of something family related. Sadly things cant be just simple when changes are made in my family there has to pounding on the roof and everyones dragon seems to arise including mine. I have learned to find the thing that is really the root and that helps. I give everything time before I react if possible. I always remember that I can make any awful situation worse….and I am responsible to not do that in my life anymore. Thanks for sharing and remember some people live with leaks and have no money for a new roof….

  2. Jaeleen says:

    Thanks so much for an excellent post ~ this really hit home today.

  3. Marilyn says:

    I read your blog for the first time today. I have tears in my eyes. I have gone through my share or horrific events. My first husband died at 27 leaving me at 23 with a 5 week old, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I did not say “Why me” but said G-d has a plan.Needless to say, I have 3 adult professional daughters with lovely families of their own.
    After going through 21 years living a very precarious life, I married my husband who had been my good friend for 20 years. Was in a car accident that was supposed to kill me and I still did not say “Why me” but that I must be strong for G-d to let Bad Things Happen to Good People. Have lived through my husband having an affair, the deaths of so many people who were close to me, which is to be expected, and then was involved in a 2nd car accident which was also supposed to kill me. I have to go to a pain mgt center for epidurals in my back every 3 months and had to have my heel reconnected to my ankle.
    I finally became angry with G-d upon developing Fibromyalgia after healing from the accident because I had to go back to my professional to quickly.
    I am a different person now; not being able to do 1/2 the things I used to do. I become anxious, tired, teary eyed, etc.
    And we are leaving on a 25 day trip out of the country and I cannot handle all of the things that I have to do before we leave. The chaos in my head is overwhelming. I listen to nice music, watch enjoyable tv and knit but nothing calms my head. If anyone can help me at this time of my life, please do. I have never reached out like this before. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  4. cindy says:

    Queen Marilyn, You have been through more than anyone should have to go through. It just plain stinks. To live in pain, everyday is so unfair. Yet, here you are. And you’re still seeking a way to see through the clouds and the grit and get on with it. So we know that you have a survivor’s heart. We wish we had the ability to make your journey easier but we don’t. You are a strong, brave, beautiful woman and you get up every day and put one foot in front of the other. Try to remember that young girl who raised those amazing children and try to remember the attitude that brought you to this place. You’re going on a trip that seems stressful. Are you able to tap into the excitement of travel and let yourself know that there are very few places in the world today where you can’t replace something you forgot? We don’t mean to make light of your stress. We’re only asking if you can practice seeing more of the joyful parts. We find that helps us. Hope it’s of some help to you.

  5. Holly says:

    Marilyn-I hope you find the joy in travel and find peace in your world.

    Cindy-What lovely insight you have. We all have stuff don’t we? It’s finding a place to put it that’s the hard part.

  6. Nellene Perry says:

    Whoosh! Overwhelmed right now. Since retirement five years ago i spend half my time in Oklahoma where I have lived all my life and the other half in Normal, Illinois where my daughter and two spunky grand-kids live. She went through a difficult divorce just about the time I retired. I have become sort of a transitional parenting/partner with her and love every minute of it even though it can be very stressful at times. Then back in Oklahoma I try to spend time with my soon to be 92 year old mother and also my other daughter and two Oklahoma grand-kids. Last year we planned a week of Nana Camp at my house so all the cousins could have quality time together. We included another cousin of my “Normal” grand-kids and a sweet family friend’s two daughters as well. Just before the date of our camp I got a call to work for the Census beginning the day our camp was planned. We made the best of it, but camp before and after Census work every day was less than I had hoped for the kids. So, this year I again made elaborate plans for Nana Camp for these seven wonderful children. My church does a children’s’ musical every summer and this year it begins June 20. We planned for all the kids to come for that and stay with me that week and the following week for Nana Camp. But then the eldest grandchild, My 14 year old granddaughter had to undergo a critical knee surgery on May 23 – surgery originally scheduled for later in July. I flew home from Normal to be here in time for the surgery and was at the hospital with my daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter when several tornadoes hit Oklahoma and one completely demolished 90% of their neighborhood. Grandson was with a friend and safe in their tornado shelter. Their home was still standing but much roof damage and resulting water damage. No electricity, no water and the neighborhood looked like a war zone. They had to take granddaughter to a handicap accessible hotel while we got my house ready for them to all move in with me. So, last week the rat, three cats and two dogs moved in with me and yesterday the family of four moved in with me. We played musical beds last night as each person searched for just the right place to sleep. Today son-in-law is off to work, daughter is out dealing with tornado related chaos – insurance adjuster has still not seen their house and it has been over a week since the storm. Grandson is begging to get on the computer and just before my daughter left she gave granddaughter a Lortab and the last Oxycontin. She had a rough night last night and relentless pain. Hope she sleeps all day… Still want kids to go to the church thing (I am scheduled to help with that all five days and be on hand to push wheelchair as needed) and we have not cancelled Nana Camp so will have one or two more dogs and four more adults and five more kids – one in a wheelchair – staying with me beginning June 19. Last month my insurance company decreed they would no longer cover the antidepressant I was on and the new one has to be taken 3 times a day instead of once and I forget to take it 2/3 of the time. Then last week I got a notice from them they will no longer cover what I have to take for narcolepsy symptoms and have already started to wonder whether what they replace it with will keep me awake enough to do church and Nana camp and then the last straw for me was when I got the summons for JURY DUTY to begin June 20. I am usually great at keeping lots of balls up in the air and doing it with gusto and a big smile…..but I am overwhelmed………………….

  7. cindy says:

    Holy Cow, Queen Nellene, we almost had to take a nap after just reading about what you’ve been going through. Seems to me the grandkids need to turn camp Nana into Spa Nana and treat you to some powerful sweet nurturing and loving. You’re a woman who goes 90 miles an hour and loves it, that’s clear. But this is more chaos than most of us deal with at once. Please, please give yourself little spaces throughout the day to stop and take a deep breath and feel how much love surrounds you. And, don’t be afraid to tell everyone you normally care for that you might need a little caring for yourself. The good news is you have a big, noisy, rambunctious family who adores you. We’re hugging you from here.

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