We are like a tree during a storm.  If you look at the top of a tree, you may have the impression that the tree can be blown away or that the branches can be broken anytime, but if you direct your attention to the trunk of the tree and become aware that the tree is deeply rooted in the soil, then you see the solidity of the tree.  The mind is the top of the tree, so don’t dwell there; bring your mind down to the trunk.  The abdomen is the trunk, so stick to it, practice mindful, deep breathing, and after that the emotion will pass.  When you have survived one emotion, you know that next time a strong emotion arises, you will survive again.  But don’t wait for the next strong emotion to practice.  It is important that you practice deep, mindful breathing every day.                             – Thich Nhat Hanh

Like a Hurricane, there is never a good time for an unfortunate event to happen.  Divorce, the diagnosis of an illness or the death of a loved one are all unpleasant, but not unprecedented occasions to human kind.  These occasions can invoke our emotions.

Fear was a prevalent emotion in the lead up to Hurricane Irma.  The storm was a force of nature that could not be avoided.  You either hunker down and wait for the most powerful storm ever to pass, or you run.  And all things pass.

There are some positive aspects to this event.  We learned that there are times when we are not in control.  We are not able to redirect a hurricane.  At these times, we need to be aware that we are more than our emotions.  Also, it helps to remember that we are rooted to family and community.

When you realize that the home you inhabit could be destroyed or compromised, you also realize that material things are not on the same plane as humans or pets.

Many of us were disrupted from our routine and taken out of our comfort zone.  From this disrupted and disjointed place, we gain a different, often revitalized perspective.

Mindfulness is a skill that can help us cope with the most difficult aspects of life.  But don’t wait for the next Hurricane to practice.  That way when one of life’s disasters happen, you will be ready.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney