I was travelling to visit family in Connecticut during Christmas. Two days after we arrived, one of the biggest snow storms in the last 15 years hits north-eastern America. It was cosy enough to stay indoors with the warmth of family and the holiday spirit around us. I returned to Sydney Australia at the end of the first week in January, and the floods hit Brisbane. I am beginning to wonder how storms seem to be following me around the globe! Dare I consider that I may have created these storms at some level - and that they seem to be following me everywhere? ... Of course, if I really thought I was bringing bad weather wherever I go, I wouldn't be telling any of you.
Seeing the floods in Brisbane and the storms in North America, it makes me happy to be living in a 24th-floor apartment, in Sydney, with excellent plumbing, satellite communications, and a stockpile of dried fruit, nuts and spare batteries. Yet - in the last 12 hours, water from the plant room on the 27th floor overflowed and flooded all the apartments below (including mine) .....not quite Venice but the carpet feels like the wetlands here.
Can storms be meaningful? I pondered the question. Perhaps it is a metaphor of a wake-up call in some form. I reflected that there may be external storm-like chaos in my life that I am attracting so that I may better pay attention. But what do I need to focus on?
Reflecting on the floods.....Is Brisbane the new Venice, or has the water receded and is it now more like Pisa? Either way - there is beauty in both. Change can be difficult and sudden. Yet it can result in breakthoughs not possible with incremental gentle tweaks. Even through the stormy weather, the spirit of humanity rises in aid of the storm victims. Here are Venice-like gondoliers to the rescue:
Post-flood, an emergence of a changed landscape and new possibilities. A flood victim was interviewed about the future - and this was her optimistic reply in light of the demise of all her worldly belongings and the devastation in her community: "We can rebuild everything the way we want to."
Thank goodness, I thought, that these storms are not internal. Whilst they are flurrying outside, I can deal with them. So how am I utilising these storms or chaos external of myself to become more aware, to become more conscious of the journey of getting back on purpose? One thing came to mind that wasn't very palatable. I realised that perhaps I created these storms outside of myself to distract from the internal changes that I need to make. It could stem from my fear of failure. More likely, though, I think it stems from a fear of pending success. How could that be? Maybe it's because the success I have been attempting to define for myself this year has no reference structure in my own experience. It is unfamiliar. It is a stretch of the epistemology. It is frightening simply because it is unknown.
Perhaps these external storms are indeed a projection of my internal unrest!
I have decided now that these storms are teaching me to remain calm of self and empathetic of others, especially of those less fortunate than me. It is essential that I continue to serve and support those around me, without veering from my own purpose and intent. To accept there are some things I can change and those that I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference. With those that I can, let me have the courage to step forward to make a difference. To those that I cannot, simply learn to let go.
Moving forward this year, I am getting much clearer on what it is that I choose to and want to do so that I can trust to go with the flow. I will keep these in focus:
1. Notice how congruent I feel and allow that to direct me no matter what (crisis) is happening around me.
2. Have the courage to step forward to take a stand, whilst being aligned in the calmness of my internal self to help me see clearer through the storm. Being able to keep one's sense of humour in times of crisis can be heartwarming, and even sometimes enlightening, as we see new perspective when the spirit is uplifted.
3. Steer in the general direction that's right for me whilst assisting others wanting to move in a similar direction. Be cautious not to force my perspective of the world onto others and to remain respectful of how they choose to be.
So what are you choosing to make of the storms that blow around you? How can you 'lose your mind to come to your senses' in stormy weather? How can you learn from them so that they leave you stronger and more resilient?