“All great changes are preceded by chaos” -- Deepak Chopra
There is always a least a little chaos going on in my life -- chaos that feels unsettling. Chaos is a word that generally carries a negative connotation, understood as an undesirable state of not knowing or understanding what will happen next -- feeling overwhelmed and unable to predict the future. But I like to think of chaos as magic. Chaos brings about the new, the unexpected; it is life giving. (Sounds a little like motherhood, right?) Magic is generally a situation in which our expectations are challenged, things do not go as planned, but we view the outcome positively. Since I can’t control the universe, but I can influence my own perspective I try to bring a positive, open outlook to each day and each situation. When I am open to the chaotic unknown as potentially beautiful, fresh, new and positive I welcome chaos as everyday magic. This doesn’t mean that having two baskets of laundry to fold and a sink full of dishes feels magical, but it does bring a pleasant mindfulness to the chaotic mundane
White space. A blank slate is a world of possibility, all the space for thought, new direction and beginnings. I love a blank piece of paper, a white wall, a bare table top. Being outdoors is also my spaciousness. The big wide open. The moving air, the open sky, the grounding, the connection with infinite expansion.
White space and the outdoors are part of my everyday. They are my go to for calm and creativity. For connecting inward and connecting outward.
Calm is always breath. Inhale. I connect with the present. Exhale. I am here now.
Clarity is simple for me. I look at my children, I observe their energy and intentions and everything that is important, that is vital, comes into stark clarity. I have never felt such confidence in myself and my decisions as I have being a mother. My children gave me this gift. Children’s needs are so simple, so few. Love, care, nourishment, shelter. They give themselves so purely and generously to others. This is my clarity. All I need for myself and all I need to create from myself is love and nourishment with pure and generous intentions. My children gave me my clarity and therefore true purpose. When days are hard and exhausting, when I’m not sure what to do next, I come back to my children and to the present moment. This grounds me.
We don’t need to be parents or raise children to find our clarity, that is just how it came to me. Living simply, travelling far and wide, meditation, yoga and other journeys can take us there.
Walking. I practice many things, but nothing as consistently and persistently as walking.
“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts.” -- Soren Kierkegaard
In high school I wrote a biographical paper about Soren Kierkegaard and in researching his life I learned that he spent around 8 hours a day walking. Walking was his way to think and solve problems. I remember thinking this practice sounded quite luxurious and attractive. I later learned that many great thinkers have been avid walkers. (Many are also quite sedentary…) When I moved out of home and into the downtown of our city I no longer had to rely on car and bus wheels to get me places, I could walk to work and school. It felt like such a freedom to me. Freedom from a public transit schedule, freedom from a pre-determined route, freedom from monetary exchange. A simple action was filled with so much freedom. I got completely hooked on walking, like a child taking my first steps again. Since then I’ve made walking for the sake of walking a core part of my life. It brings me calm in the chaos of work and motherhood, clarity in moments of overwhelm, space for my heart and mind to open.
Books / Thought Leaders / Inspiration
The Dalai Lama for his commitment to kindness in the face of any situation. Kindness is always possible. Kindness is the way.
Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust survivor, author and psychiatrist. His book Man’s Search for Meaning shows us in unequivocal terms how we can overcome the worst circumstances imaginable and continue to live with gratitude each day.
Diaper Free, by Ingrid Bauer, is a book that I picked up in my midwife’s office by chance. Sitting in her office on my “due” date, the spine of the book caught my eye and my intuition told me to take the book home and read it. While the book is about how to raise your child/ren without the use of diapers, at the core it is really a book about communication, close connection and the power of intuition. As someone who doesn’t generally recommend parenting books, I recommend this book to everyone even if they have no interest in doing diaper free or elimination communication with their infants, because the book teaches so much more than that. It empowers individuals to recognize and hone their intuitive powers. It was life changing for me.
Life is creativity. I am creating life and lifestyle - a style of life - everyday. My life, as I create it and guide my children, is my message to the world. As I share on my website, Hippie in Disguise, I am creating a nature-inspired life of art and adventure, based in an ethos of slow, eco, minimal living.
Known as Hippie in Disguise, popular Canadian blogger and Instagrammer Danielle Chassin is not only a Contributing Editor for Enfants Terribles, a European children’s fashion magazine, but she is also the mother of two and a full-time policy strategist for the Canadian Government. Danielle grew up dancing and then shifted her focus to yoga after high school. She is passionate about creative arts, the environment, and compassionate, kind and minimal living. Danielle’s photography and writing focus on the little things that make life beautiful and inspiring. Art, adventure, nature, slow, eco, minimal are words she lives by. That, and love.