Recently, I had a conversation with someone about “storms” happening in my life and, as if on cue, a thunder and lightening storm rolled in. I was quite fascinated by the stillness that happened just prior to the storm, the intensity that followed with gusty winds, blowing trees, rain and even hail. Almost as quickly as it had started, the storm stopped. I heard birds chirping and saw them flying around as if to catch the new batch of worms now easily available. I made some comment to my friend, something like “these are the storms of our lives.” Yes, a take off the soap opera, Days of Our Lives—please tell me I’m not dating myself too much here! Similar to real storms, the storms of our lives often have three key pieces: the calm before the storm, the actual storm, and then the recovery from the storm. I want to talk about each of these pieces and provide some insight. The Calm Before the Storm You know this place. It’s almost as if there is a sense of something coming around the corner. It’s too calm. Here’s what I like to invite into this part: it’s similar to the oxygen mask coming down in an airplane. It’s the preparation. It’s making sure your house is in order so that when the storm comes, your stress levels are inline and you are ready—even to handle the unexpected. The Storm The biggest challenge about storms is that we don’t always know how long they will last or how intense they will be. We cannot control that part. What we can control is our response to it. The good news is that the storm will be over at some point. I know we’ve heard the exasperated, “when will this end?” a time or two and yet, deep down, we know there will be some form of end. This time period requires attention to making sure we are taking care of ourselves. Remembering to breathe, practice prayer/meditation, exercise, get good nutrition, drink water—these are all critical. Unfortunately, they are often the first things to go unless we put attention to the intention. Two bonus thoughts: Doing these things will actually lesson the number of storms as stress often creates unnecessary storms and storms have gifts. Think about a storm that moves seeds around so new flowers and trees grow. Rain is necessary for growth. Recovery From the Storm Good News! We made it! There is something satisfying about making it through a challenge. It can also be exhausting. I find myself going between fatigue and excitement following a life storm. I like to give myself permission for a little recovery. Maybe a day off. Something that helps fill me back up. I also like to journal about the storm. I look for the learning, growth, emotions and more. Journaling helps me get perspective and context. I also like to have coffee with someone to process out loud a little. This also helps fill in gaps and reinforce my core values and who I am as a person. I’d love to hear about your experience with life storms. What have you noticed? How do you weather the storm?
Blessings, Peace and JOY—