Feed the Fear or the Compassion?


As I sit here, waiting for Hurricane Irma to finish her assault on South Florida, I have tried everything I can to not hang on to the thoughts rushing through my mind. We are only getting a glancing blow from this storm, but there are 100 mph gusts, sustained tropical storm force winds, storm surge, tornadoes…. Well, you get the idea. The noise is very unsettling. Since we were fortunate enough to board up the entire house, there is no seeing what’s going on outside. We should be getting some relief late tonight as the eye moves up the west coast, 90 miles from here.

We have no power, no cell phone, no wifi. The landscaping is all being torn to shreds. There is, believe or not, looting going on in the city…even during the height of the storm! There will be little fuel or food around for a few days…no a/c…no television…etc. I did prepare and have the supplies I need for several days.

So many people, acting out of fear and stress, were rude and not at all “team players” in the days leading up to the storm. Our lives seem a bit turned upside down. We don’t know what we will find tomorrow or how long the aftermath will affect us.

I feel a great deal of fear as my children are on the west coast of the state and tonight will be dealing with a much more powerful version of Irma. There is nothing I can do for them except wait and hope we get some communication to each other very soon.

When I think of my children and what they will face tonight…

Fear….. what to do with all my fear…

In the days ahead of this storm, I meditated about compassion. In my travels, I have been lucky enough to meet and make friends with some folks in Siem Reap and Mongol Borei, Cambodia. They are wonderful, generous people who treasure their families and do everything they can for them. They live without a/c, Publix, cars, big computers…some of them with only seasonal work. When there is a natural disaster such as a flood or typhoon, their only choice for shelter is their home, built on stilts and made of tin and bamboo. Some have walls, some do not. There is no safety net or FEMA coming.  There is no Super-Doppler radar or Max Tracker.

As difficult as it is NOT to latch onto to my fearful thoughts and the stories I imagine, I am trying to catch those moments of compassion. This experience may be a once in a lifetime for us, but for so many people, it happens every year. As I go through the fear of not knowing what those noises are beyond the shutters of plywood, how long this will last or what it will take to rebuild, I will TRY to experience the feeling and think of those who know it better than I. I hope my children will do the same. I hope we all will.

For this one, Don’t Get Out of the House…till it’s over.

Update: It’s over and we fared better than many.  Now the compassion and assistance goes out to those who need it…and there are many… Namaste




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