The Life Lessons I Learned from Hurricane Irene
By Courtney Henley on August 29, 2011
TGATP's prayers are with the many people who lost family members and children to the raging storm that was Hurricane Irene. In addition, I am very concerned about the people who's homes were flooded and now are experiencing power outages. Fortunately for me, the storm was a physical non-event, more muss than fuss. But while the preparations for Irene were tedious and annoying, I would not have traded those nerve racking four days for anything. Because the roller coaster of emotions and spiritual awakenings that I experienced through the preparations for this storm's arrival and it's subsequent passing, were nothing short of extraordinary. In addition, the hilarious ironic lesson about fear, that the good Lord bestowed on me, forced me to reassess my panic about the many things I worry about in Life.
1. Don't believe the weather people, trust your pets! - For 24-3, the news gave us a barrage of bad news about 80mph winds, drenching rains, and flooding, none of which happened for most of the City. Dinah Washington Cat was a more accurate gauge than the local weather people. On Thursday, when the Hurricane was first announced, she was her normal bossy cat self while I was in a sheer panic. By Saturday afternoon, Dinah was a bit anxious, alternating between hiding under the bed and jumping into the window. But by Saturday evening, she was lounging and sleeping as usual. Once she fell asleep, I followed suit safe in the knowledge that cats know all.
2. Surrender is perfection - This summer has been awful for me on every level. My beloved Mom died suddenly, my sister had to be released, I was just diagnosed pre-diabetic, and then just last week, all three of my Fashion Week initiatives fell through! On top of that all, I am dealing with some issues with my apartment all while trying to develop other projects. With all this already weighing on me, the announcement of the impending arrival of Irene sent me into a weird catatonic state. I kept trying, but was completely unable to relax and literally had to remind myself to breathe. Even the attempt to cheer myself up through gift card enabled shopping therapy didn't work. Despite scoring some awesomely spiffy new Hunter boots from Saks, I was still not completely better and spent most of Friday stressed to the point of headache. So I finally had to pull up the wonderful lesson of surrender that the amazing August Gold had just delivered in her course. (Check her out at http://www.augustgold.net).
I looked to the sky and honestly said, "God I surrender. You take over. I can't handle another thing." And amazingly, I was calmed. Because ultimately things, like Irene, are totally out of our control. We can prepare but we cannot control. If it was the universe's will that, as I feared, my windows were going to blow out and my apartment was going to be flooded and I was going to have to be evacuated and the electricity was going to go out and I was going to have to dry out all my things - then it was the universe's will. That surrender and that realization enabled me to apply the same reasoning to the other current difficulties in my Life. While I can do all I can to avoid an unpleasant outcome, ultimately the universe will decide.
3. Believe 'Em The First Time - One of the best pieces of advice, that I go back to time and time again, comes from Maya Angelou who stated, "Once people show you who they are, believe them the first time." Irene made me seriously and finally get completely real about a relationship that I have maintained for years. The skinny: I was gathering provisions when I encountered various couples jovially shopping and planning their survival of Irene...TOGETHER. As I lugged five gallons of water and a truckload of food home, it dawned on me that should a tragedy occur, I would be alone to face it. This made me reexamine my relationship with the former lover, who I have always romantically referred to as "the Love of my Life", my very own Mr. Big. But here, getting ready for what could be a major catastrophe, I was made to really look at what I had created. And it wasn't pretty. In fact, the reality was glaringly stark. The simple fact was he wasn't here to face this with me. And even worst, despite knowing that a hurricane was headed towards where I, someone he regularly says he loves lives, he didn't bother to contact me till AFTER the hurricane had passed!
On further examination, I realize now that Irene is a metaphor for our entire relationship. He is only around before and after the storms in my Life, never during. This man has been telling me for years who he is (and isn't), and it's time to believe him. Oh sure, this guy LIKES me enough, but he doesn't LOVE me enough. There is no way that anyone that "loved" me could only wonder about my well-being after a hurricane. Because Love is never flippant or indifferent. On the contrary, Love is genuine concern and caring. Imagine Romeo waiting till after a hurricane hit Verona to find out if Juliet was ok. Imagine Shrek waiting till after a hurricane hit Never Never Land to check if Fiona was safe. You can't. Take it from me. Unrealistic romantic notions won't warm your heart or your bed. And continuing acceptance of caddish or thoughtless behavior, even on an unconscious level, wrecks your self esteem, sends signals out that you are not to be taken seriously, and limits your opportunity to meet your real soulmate. So if there is anyone reading this that is with someone, who does not show proper concern for you, all I can say is that you, like me, deserve better. Hell, men has fought wars, crossed countries on foot, walked away from fortunes, and given up their lives for the women they love! It is time that, we the Modern Woman, demand more of our guys - a lot more!
Thanks Irene...my gosh you brought out a lot!
For part 2, check out http://thatgirlattheparty.com tomorrow.
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