From earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan to tornadoes in the southern United States and recent natural events in all regions of Earth, we have been reminded again of the power of nature and the fragility of this reality we occupy daily. Our hearts go out to those whose lives have been disrupted and who face a difficult time of recovery.

The terms we see used to report these events are "disaster," "catastrophe," "destruction," "devastation," "calamity," and "tragedy." All are appropriate to the immediate view of the unfortunate fate of those most directly affected, but the negativity of these words contribute strongly to a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and impending doom in the minds of all of us who are subject to our modern technological ability to communicate so vividly and immediately. The impact is magnified by our opportunity to witness with such clarity far distant events as has never been experienced by humans in the past.

The media seek to inform with powerful and overwhelming images that come to dominate the thoughts of the viewer and allow us to share the pain and struggles of those who stand in the midst of the devastation. This shared experience, compounded by our natural compassion and identification with the suffering of others, transforms the natural disaster into a devastation of our soul. Their physical distress becomes our emotional distress and we can begin to feel a sense of personal "victimization" and we become overwhelmed with negative thoughts. Our work to maintain and emit positive vibrations is "short-circuited" and suddenly our new thought form becomes one that does not serve us, or the universe, well.

As we observe these cataclysmic scenes and send our loving thoughts to those who suffer, the cosmos and we would be well served if we reflect on a deeper meaning that would help to set a context that would move us beyond our limiting views of sadness and depression.
Chaos is often defined as the opposite of order and we see turmoil and pandemonium as the evidences of chaos. But chaos exists, not just as a condition of life, but also as the defining life force of existence itself. Chaos reigns in life forms as the condition that constantly recreates, repairs, and refurbishes.

As one sits quietly, one's body rejuvenates cells, repairs damage, and restores vitality to our persons. Chaos prevents the entropy that leads to stagnation, deterioration, and, ultimately, death. This vibrancy of life will often have the appearance of disorder and confusion, but that view is a product of limited vision. There is a powerful organizing force within this bewildering disarray that is part of the wonderful cosmic mystery that we embrace and that inhabits our greater being.

The forces of nature are powerful, but they do not exist independent of our thoughts or intentions. We possess powerful forces of will and purpose that can be channeled collectively to heal and alter reality if we seek to understand and employ them. It is incumbent on enlightened beings that we draw on our inner strength to reverse negative vibrations of loss into a positive vibration of possibility by our continuing efforts to be at one with the universe and to help all humankind by focusing on our powers of healing and rejuvenation.

We must continue to impart the influence of our positive thoughts by holding true to our collective work as a new age of joy and possibility emerges. This will do more to help those who suffer than would simply sharing their despair.

If we hold a vision of all existence as a unified being and the universe as a single entity, every condition within the universe is a fractal incorporating all that the universe is or can be. Chaos on Earth is a part of this greater vibrancy of life that sustains and perpetuates all of existence.

To understand this should certainly not diminish our empathy for those who suffer immediate pain and loss, but it should help us to reframe our view of our life as not one of hopelessness, but as one constantly rejuvenated by the power of hope, the opportunity of renewal, and the promises of the significance of continuing life.

In "An Essay on Man," Alexander Pope wrote:
Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

Hope creates expectation and these emerging expectations of future possibilities are the life-affirming blessings that provide meaning and purpose to our existence. Tragic events do not define us; but destructive forces serve to delineate and amplify the resiliency of our souls and the power of our positive intentionality.

We possess the amazing ability to reframe our world through the power of our thoughts and our subsequent decisions to act to create a new reality. Our joy in life should never be limited by the moments we must inevitably endure that seem difficult and harsh. Seeing the constancy of wonder and mystery as a source of possibility, we can revel in the prospect of new thinking, new pleasures, and new worlds yet to be discovered.

Author's Bio: 

Jan Engels-Smith is a graduate of the Foundation of Shamanic Studies and has trained with individual shamans. She has had a thriving shamanic practice since 1994. She has performed over 3,000 soul retrievals and viewed as an expert in her field. She is an author, Shamanic Practitioner, Reiki Master, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Chemical Dependency Specialist, a Marriage and Family Counselor a Hypnotherapist and a Reconnection Healer.

Jan founded the LightSong School of Shamanic Studies, which has eight associate teachers and is the first of its kind to offer three accredited degrees in shamanism: Internship (IP), Licensed Master Practitioner (LMP) and Doctorate in Shamanism (ShD). You can learn more about these programs at

Jan also conducts individual and group healing seminars for intensive personal growth.

Her training and experiences have been extensive both in the traditional philosophies and metaphysical traditions. Her personal philosophy is to assist individuals in gaining their own personal empowerment, which will in turn, promotes self healing, better communities and a healthier world.

Contact Jan at or call 503-669-3013 (Portland, OR).