After the Storm

I was insecure and a little scared, even though this wasn’t my first rodeo.

These images were taken in my neighborhood after hurricane Irma. Photo credit: Greg M - Thank you!

As a native Floridian, hurricanes are par for the course. Hurricanes can also be a terrifying experience - howling winds, blowing transformers, storm surge, and falling trees. But mostly it’s terrifying because of the unknown. No matter how you prepare, you’ve never quite sure – should we stay or go? Have I done enough? You mitigate your risk compared to your time, energy, and resources. You watch the news – you watch too much news.

It is a debate that presents itself repeatedly, no matter how experienced you become.

I am writing this about a week after Hurricane Irma made its way through my hometown and my home state. We’ve been out of power and connection to the internet and I put down publishing for a few weeks so we could focus on what was in front of us. 

Sometimes you get to prepare for the storms in your life, other times you do not.

A job loss, the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a hurricane. All storms we endure as a part of this thing we call being human.

We plan and prepare as much as we can and then we (should) let go. Anything more creates the kind of worry and anxiety that is paralyzing. Anything else is simply trying to wrench control from a situation or circumstance where you have none.

So, we endure the storm. The pain of loss - the windy night -  and then there is the after.

The place where you stand in what was and begin to decide how you will determine what will be.

Your heart, your life, your material possessions.

This is the cycle of life – a tearing down, a building up; and so, it goes.

This process can be painful but also full of hope. Full of opportunity. For this is the space where you get to decide your new normal – your new real. And it is powerful because you get to decide.

Are there dreams you’ve given away that might be possible now?

Can this loss create a space for something better than you ever imagined?

What if that better thing was you?

Because the better thing can always be you.

A stronger, more complete, more whole you.

There is opportunity after the storm. In the place of what will be.

Building something new isn’t always easy, it takes work – and the work is hard but life-giving. And the work is good, for it prepares the heart, the mind, the body the soul for the after.

I have done this work – am still doing this work. I hope I never finish doing this work.

My work begins with analyzing what was and my heart to determine how I’m feeling about any given situation. Because I’ve done this enough to know that the change I seek and what determines my after solely depends on me. We help each other of course, but only I am responsible for my happiness and joy.

The places where I’m down, where I’m anxious, where I’m tired and lonely and stressed – those are the places of grace and insight into my being and the pain that is causing the anguish. The healing and the peace come in the uncovering.

I encourage you, my friend - do your work, review your loss, and determine your after.

 It is a journey you will not regret, I promise.