in the eye of the storm
It hit sooner than was supposed to, and stronger than predicted. From the first tornado warnings around 8:15 Monday night, life become surreal.
Anxiety turned to awe for me around midnight as the eye of Isaias moved overhead; we went outside to experience the incredible sense of peace and wholeness of the center of the hurricane, like we had somehow landed on the moon.
We were shocked the next day as reports came in from the beach side of the island, hit by a wildly powerful storm surge. Hubby and I were lucky; minor damage, one tree down, the expected branches and debris to clean up. So many others … lucky to be alive.
Later that day, I sat in the driveway in the shade, gulping water, realizing my head hadn’t really stopped spinning since 8 p.m. the night before. Trying to catch myself, I reminded myself that I know the rules. I know what to do … in any situation … to regain my balance and move ahead from a better place.
And I couldn’t remember even my first rule. It took me a good 30-45 seconds to calm my head enough to recall Rule #1: Get to Source.
Once I remember it, I had to laugh. I spent another 30 seconds breathing and connecting to source, as the other rules started falling into line … Listen to your heart (#2) … Feel then decide (#3) … etc.
I’ve always tended to be a disaster junkie. I’m morbidly fascinated by the “hows” of a natural disaster. And there were plenty of hows to figure out with this mess.
How did that boat end up in that lawn by the walkway?
How did six miles of beautiful dunes and beach grasses simply vanish?
How did that Winnebago end up nearly submerged in that ditch?
I spent the last few days trying to absorb the hows, and it only made things worse. I ate too much; I couldn’t sleep; I couldn’t focus on work. All of this was like a smashing finale to the ongoing stress of the past year or so.
Then my friend Amy, author of 10 Little Rules for Mermaids, mentioned Little River Band, and I watched the video to Cool Change. You know the one, with the leaping dolphins and sparkling sea … and finally the tears came … quietly, not sobbing, but just falling, emptying my heart of what it had been trying to process.
Feel, then decide. I finally decided it was okay to feel what I was feeling, and also decided it was okay to move on to another feeling. So I’m on to Rule #4: Focus on kindness and love.
It is swarming around here … strangers pitching in to help; neighbors checking in; the police and fire and water rescue and town officials dropping everything to be here for all of us, with grit and good humor and grace.
So I’ll stay here for a while yet … focusing on kindness and love, adding to it as I can (hubby is at the grocery store right now buying baking supplies so I can make cookies for the National Guard troops who are here to help). It’s not much, but kindness and love really is everything now.
There will be time yet to Act as If (#5), and name my fears (#6). The storm was a forced purge for many here (#7), but yes, we’ll all find and celebrate moments of beauty (#8) and create new rituals (#9). It’s enough right now to stay focused, and continue to be grateful (#10) in every moment.
Carol Pearson is the founder of 10 Little Rules and the author of 10 Little Rules for a Blissy Life. She reminds us all to remember Rule 4 — Focus on kindness & love