Certain events in life tend to wake us up out of the coma-like stupor in which many of go through the busyness of our daily grind. These events are the kind which jolt us – sometimes pleasantly and sometimes decidedly not so pleasantly. Things like hurricanes and parents suffering tragic health scares always fall into the extreme end of the latter, to say the least. These events not only wake us up with the same warmth as that of a bucket or bathtub of ice water, these horrific scares also seemingly come out nowhere to disrupt our souls. Each time they arrive we’re shocked, numb, speechless and unsure where “normal” is. We feel helpless to resist them or to stop them, because the momentum of the swirling winds and the powerful force of these literal or metaphorical storms of life seems so much greater than us. So much more powerful than we are in our smallness. Our voices, needs and pain get lost in the seemingly endless, deafening noise of the storm.
However, in the midst of the rage of storms like hurricanes and health scares, we have a choice. We can either be swept deeper into the swirling, overwhelming, painful winds or we can be moved to the storm’s center, peaceful eye…but only if we allow it to move us there. From the eye, the storms can lift us up.
While they are horrible, stressful, less-than-welcome guests in the familiar “nest” of our day to day lives, even these storms hold a gift. Believe it? Maybe not yet, and I wouldn’t blame you for doubting when lives are shattered, hearts are aching and the ability to have any power, control or influence feels completely out of reach. However for many of us, the homing device that takes us to the eye of the storm, is the part of our soul that searches and seeks those gifts in the midst of all of the tragedy.
It’s in the eye of the storm where we find peace. In my case, since my passion is to help people discover the gifts and power in their past and present “storms”, when one emerges in my own life and I long to find peace, sanity and some source of power, my soul (God) points me to the eye..but only if I allow it. When I do make the choice to be moved and I reach that center place; when God shows me the gift and lesson in the middle of the storm, I am truly at peace…and that’s how I know I’m in the eye of the storm and whether or not it dissipates or not, I am at peace.
This week not only did a hurricane threaten the little peninsula which I call home (Florida), but I also got the dreaded call from my father about a health scare that was the most unwelcome storm of all. I was jolted to say the least. Stunned. Numb. Wanting to either wake up from the nightmare or to drift back into my stupor. I wanted to be anywhere other than the reality in which I found myself with the swirling winds, rain, tears and fear playing havoc with my heart, the hearts of millions and the health of two of the most precious people on earth to me. I didn’t want to be IN the storm, let alone yield to it and find the gifts (even though it’s my passion to do so, it doesn’t necessarily mean going there comes easily!). It then becomes something that’s Divinely chosen, because often (actually almost always) I don’t have the strength to do it on my own…and somehow peace comes.
There in the midst of that awful reality the last thing I wanted was to have to ask was to find a way to transcend the storms, go to the eye and see the gifts — I was literally by a hurricane-sized captor from flying home to be at the bedside of my mother, not to mention the hurricane-sized captor itself that was actually threatening to hit after decimating those that had dared stand in its path. However just by uttering “help me”, just by asking to somehow make sense of it all and get through it, That Which is much more powerful than any earthly force, hears and responds. The prayers of my soul and lips uttered a feeble request that grew with confidence the more I repeated truth to myself of the power I’ve been given to choose; the more I yielded to the wind of the storm and allowed it to carry me inward toward the gifts. In the course of asking for help over and over, I suddenly found myself in the eye of the storm where there is only silence, peace and calm cocooned inside the deathly winds around me.
The closer I moved into the eye, my prayers and tears were transformed into hope. My “critical top three priorities for the day” were cast aside. Instead, the focus on the day was being in moment of the day. I could only rely on the love that defied miles through hearts and prayers. The hurricane was no match for those forces; no match for God’s love, family love or love for fellow man enduring Hurricane Matthew. Suddenly a new, broader, bigger, more peaceful perspective overshadowed whatever I had planned for the day — that which seemed so vital prior to getting the call and seeing the warnings. My heart felt bigger; my soul more relaxed; my focus more clear and acute, and my assurance that all of what I was supposed to be doing on this day would get done – communicating with family and friends, taking care of myself and my home and praying for those in grave danger…basically loving as best I could all the way around, including getting done what I still could to be productive that day, but being at ease about what didn’t get done. I was somehow sure the right, necessary things would get done and somehow, at the end of the day, I realized that they had.
I don’t believe in luck or coincidence, so the fact that these stormy days ended up being some of the most gift-filled and productive in recent memory is not just a “fluke”. I believe when we surrender to being given the bigger perspective to see the gifts (the Higher perspective that God gives), all of this minutia falls into place effortlessly. It’s up to us to make that choice.
Whether you’re in the middle of your own hurricane or you’re feeling safely outside of any threat, you can still gain this higher, broader, more peaceful perspective that can provide gifts. You can get that sort of “eye of the storm” love-filled, efficient, productive “flow” in your life on just an average, sunny, October afternoon when storms of any kind may feel safely at bay. Here are some ways to take yourself there…
- Start your day in quiet and ask God (or your Higher Power) to guide you to the truly important priorities of the day…and believe you will hear those. Taking this time, no matter how brief, will transform your life.
- Review your goals/priorities/tasks and question them: (courtesy of self development guru Darren Hardy)
- Are these still relevant?
- Are these still what’s most important now?
- Be willing to adjust and to be open to other possibilities as you ask these questions.
- Focus on love and gratitude throughout the day. We get more of what we focus on so if you keep your focus here, you’ll be surrounded by it more and more.
- Pick a phrase to repeat throughout the day to keep you mental gaze fixed on the presence of love and gratitude.
- Thinking about your thinking and remember you choose your thoughts!
- Remind yourself of stories of when taking a higher perspective actually ended very well. Reminding our minds and hearts of positive experience literally allows us to relax and create more of the same, positive experiences.
- What gifts and blessings have been Divinely delivered through the challenges you’ve faced in life?
- What examples of those who found wonderful gifts in difficulty amazed you?
“The truth you store up in the silence comes back to you in the storm. ” Christine Caine
These don’t have to take more than a few minutes each day, throughout the day. It’s a different way of being. It’s isn’t necessarily easy, yet it replaces the battering of the storm with the peace that coexists within it. God’s design.
If this hit home for you, forward it on to someone else or reach out to me. I’d love nothing more. I am here to help people get through life’s storms, no matter where they are. Of course, my storms ended calmly with a mother miraculously healed and a hurricane that stayed away from the west coast of Florida. However, thoughts and prayers will continue to be with those who suffered so severely and unimaginably from Hurricane Matthew. May each of us be one of the gifts found by those who were in its path.