When life gives you storms, make guacamole!
It's hard to believe that just a week ago it was panic stations. Yet here we are, and while the faint hum of generators and chainsaws can still be heard, I am in awe of how quickly our island has recovered.
It was business as usual for many the very next day. Not me. It took me the weekend to process all that Nicole blew in with — and work through the store of junk food I'd gathered in expectation of days on end being holed up in a dark house.
As it was, the power was back on in 36 hours. Thank you, Belco!
This time also allowed me to reflect on what I'll take away from this experience; a few lessons Nicole showed me:
Lesson 1: Clear the deadwood — keep it healthy.
One reason, perhaps, damage wasn't more extensive this time is because two years ago Fay and Gonzalo cleared a lot of weak, damaged trees.
The stronger ones survived. You know I love a good metaphor. This reminds me how important it is to keep ourselves strong and healthy, so when life's storms unexpectedly strike, we can rally faster. Keeping physically in good shape aids us in recovering from illness or injury (no more junk food for me for a while). Meanwhile, letting go of old or outdated beliefs and patterns and negative, toxic relationships and instead practising mindfulness and self-love, can boost our abilities to handle life's challenges as they arise.
Lesson 2: It's never ALL bad.
This may be hard to swallow for those facing lost roofs or flooded basements, but I've found that there are silver linings on every storm cloud that blows into our lives — although admittedly sometimes hard to see.
I'm reminded of the Zen story about good luck/bad luck. There's nothing like losing electricity (or anything for that matter) to make us appreciate it all the more. Sometimes it takes a crisis to help us realise our priorities, exercise our friendships, find our compassion and common ground, bring people together. A neighbour delivered me an armful of avocados from her tree, another brought us newspapers on Friday morning, friends offered warm showers and cooked meals … I've now got a great view of South Shore! Focusing on the positives will help us bear the rest.
Lesson 3: It's an incremental learning curve.
We are getting better at storms. The wake-up call of our 2014 double whammy encouraged us all to take this seriously and be thorough in preparedness. Our storm-prep strategies are fresh in mind: what the priorities are, what's worked well and not so well in the past. We'll have learnt even more from this one, will make a few refinements for the next time a storm approaches (please not for a while). Baby wipes! They'll be on my list — cleaning grubby fingers proved tricky with no running water. Sometimes it's the little things ...
Life is unpredictable and there will always be rough times to weather, but we can. We have proved it this past week. Let's take comfort in that and learn what we can from it.
• Julia Pitt is a trained success coach and certified NLP practitioner on the team at Benedict Associates. For further information contact Julia on 705-7488, www.juliapittcoaching.com.