Storms: The Quiet Before
Perhaps you've experienced it, too. The storm is soon upon you, but all around is calm. The flurry of activity required to prepare has ceased and as you look around, you realize you've done all that you can do. Now, you wait.
It's not that the waiting is easy, necessarily. Perhaps there's a tendency inside of you to move back into fear and anxiety, to worry about things you cannot control. The negative "What if's..." that we talked through last week might rear their ugly heads. Maybe you find a place of rest in the waiting. Still, the anticipation of the storm's arrival remains. For me, the calm before the storm has become a place in my life where I take a deep, deep breath.
My neighborhood was eerily quiet the morning before Irma arrived. Throwing on my sneakers, I headed out for a walk to get some fresh air and to see what was happening nearby. The lack of cars on the road was remarkable. The clouds swirled overhead and a notable breeze stirred tree leaves and branches into motion. All was quiet and calm. I relished the peacefulness, honestly. Irma was coming and there wasn't anything else I could do except await her arrival.
I felt so connected to my surroundings, aware of my feelings and alert on my walk that morning. It was like each cell within me was awake, taking notice of every detail. The air was cool and had a slight dampness about it. The construction near my house was put on hold and the tractors sat neatly on the lot ready for their next use. Police helicopters flew overhead capturing information from their bird's eye view, keeping all in check.
In our culture, we don't often talk about surrender. If we do, it can carry a negative connotation. But I've been learning that as the storm approaches, surrender is one of the greatest postures I can choose. It's why I got out on that walk, actually. I realized that my preparation was complete and there was nothing left for me to do.
In surrender, I recognize what I can and cannot control. I choose not to worry about things that I cannot control. I activate the faith inside of me to tackle the fear I might experience. I rest—I actually choose to lay myself down knowing that all I can do now is ride out the coming storm. I get in touch with what is most important again. I remember that things can be replaced. I remember that I really won't know how it all turns out until the storm passes, but I can choose to weather it well.
The calm before the storm affords me a wonderful opportunity to be. I get to relax into the quiet. I get to savor the sweetness of the space. Isn't it interesting how in the moments leading up to a storm, we experience a tangible stillness? I honestly believe this stillness exists to heighten our awareness of what's real and what's on the horizon. It's a place where we can see. So often, we do see the scary and the negative. But again, what if we focused on what we have and released what isn't within our grasp?
Last week, I flew out west and along the way I noticed thunderclouds gathering to form a storm. Their peaks were tall and beautiful. Sitting above them from my perch in the plane, I wondered what it would look like if we viewed storms from this vantage point consistently. What if we saw ourselves above them? What if we knew that even at their worst, we have the ability to rise above? We have the ability to choose this perspective in the calm.
- What is the calm before the storm like for you?
- What do you notice about where your thoughts and your energy go?
- Do you find yourself at rest or reengaging with fear and anxiety?
- What would life look like if you viewed yourself above each storm that formed on the horizon?
- How could this shift in perspective help you?
I'd love to hear your thoughts...