Does life feel out of sync and difficult to manage? Phillip Moffitt’s book Emotional Chaos to Clarity provides a very pragmatic and inspiring framework. It’s certainly helped me during the past couple of weeks.

Moffitt, a former publishing executive turned life coach who impacts thousands of people each year through his workshops, bases his work on a key premise. First, Moffitt asserts that “reactive mind states lead to emotional chaos.” The second part of the author’s premise is that “responsive mind states,” on the other hand, help a person to “know what they are all about”; stay grounded in their deepest values, and not be swayed by circumstances; act with clarity and wisdom; embrace an inner life in which love can flourish, even if the outer life is challenging; and break free of stories from the past.

This responsive state is cultivated, Moffitt continues, through four core “life skills” that he unpacks in helpful detail across the breadth of the book:

  1. Setting intentions based on your core values
  2. “Starting over” when you forget your intentions and act unwisely
  3. Letting go of expectations
  4. Balancing your priorities

These skills are grounded in the Buddhist tradition of vipassana, or “insight” meditation, which calls for practitioners to observe their experiences in real-time as they occur. Such observation is best done with a calm, non-judgmental state of mind and an open heart. Gradually, as Moffitt notes, practitioners become aware of when a mind state is controlled by pleasant or unpleasant feelings and causing thoughts, words or actions that lead to suffering. This disciplined awareness then empowers a person to use the four life skills.

I will now dedicate a separate blog entry to each of these four life skills. I hope you’ll journey with me from chaos to clarity!