In coping with Hurricane Harvey from afar, what can we do? I sit here in the safety of Kansas as I see from afar the horrors unfolding in Texas. I just want to acknowledge the incredible courage that Texans are showing all of us as they endure this epic storm Hurricane Harvey. I am doing what little I can – sending a donation, sending prayers and love to our fellow citizens, checking on friends and offer encouragement. Having been through the devastation of a few tornadoes and a flood, I am empathetic.
This is not about me, of course, but many of us are watching or at least are aware of the tragedy progressing in Texas and now even into Louisiana. A few things are coming up for me that I believe many of us could be feeling at this time and over the next days and weeks.
1) Our empathy for our fellow citizens. Our emotions and the accompanying the sensations arising in the body might feel almost overwhelming. It is important that we just presence ourselves to what we are feeling around all of this.
2) This may be reminding us of times when we were in storms and were terrified, but had no time to process the event because we were too busy surviving, doing whatever we had to help ourselves and others in the moment. Perhaps we never fully had the chance to process all the emotions we had about what happened. This may be an opportunity for us to heal those old wounds.
3) Perhaps sleep eludes us as we realize what our fellow citizens must be going through. Again, here our tool is to notice what we are feeling – beyond the story about it running in our head.
4) We feel powerless to really help ease the suffering. Here, we must accept our limitation. I didn’t say it would be easy, but it helps to accept what we can and cannot do in the moment. Even trying to move towards acceptance is a more healing move that allowing ourselves to be frustrated by our inability to help more than we are able.
5) We feel powerless in our powerlessness. This is a corollary to #3 above. As long as we recognize that we are experiencing our sense of powerlessness at this level, it will help us cope more easily and reduce our stress around it.
6) Limit the amount of time you spend on the news and social media. I am not advocating acting like an ostrich with our heads in the ground, but taking care to stay informed yet not ‘drown’ ourselves in the 24-hour coverage available to us.
Please take care of yourself. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing event, shocking as it is. It is still developing. We need to be there for ourselves and each other for the long haul. The best way to help our fellow citizens is for each of us to put on the proverbial oxygen mask first so as to then be able to help them. #PrayersForTexas #HurricaneHarvey #LivingBeyondChronicPain
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