When I was last heard from, I was feeling kind of low, mired in feelings of guilt and unsure how to move forward. Then came the tsunami, and somehow, in the aftermath of the fear and confusion of evacuation and a lost night of sleep, I became unmired. Not that anything substantive has changed, or that I now know how to move ahead on my journey. But the tsunami gave me the chance to break the cycle of negative thoughts that I was in, and when we drove back down the slope of Mauna Kea on Friday morning to our beautiful (and, thankfully, untouched) home, I was filled with a great sense of well-being and happiness. and I've been feeling pretty cheerful ever since.
Perhaps it was the threat of natural disaster putting things into perspective for me. Perhaps it was just the break in time and energy. But there was definitely something about inserting a pause into what was going on inside me that changed things for the better.
It's all too easy to get trapped inside an endless cycle of misery. Carol calls it mental highjacking, and I think we all do it. And it's always negative -- nobody ever seems to get caught up in an endless round of happy thoughts! Unfortunately, though it may feel as though dwelling on the bad stuff is useful, it never is. Never. Not that I advocate denial -- been there and done that, and it isn't helpful either. But beating yourself over the head with your alleged shortcomings is likely only to give you a headache.
This is all related to the importance of self-love and self-care. If you've ever been to Marineland or Sea World or the like, you've heard the presenters at the dolphin and whale shows say that the reason they put on those shows is to get people to care about the whales and dolphins, because humans are only likely to try to take care of things (and people) they care about personally. We care about our family and friends, which is why we can be kind to them and supportive of their efforts to change, even when they slip and slide and lose their way. But we are not so forgiving of our own slips and slides, suggesting that perhaps we don't truly love and value our selves as much as we value those close to us.
This lesson is so simple, but so hard. I am not the enemy. My body is not the enemy. Maybe there isn't even an enemy, only challenges to figure out, one at a time.
When we left Puako, in the wee hours of Thursday night, we left the windows open in our house. Our thinking was that if the tsunami generated really big waves, it would be better to allow them to wash through the house than to give them no place to go, since that resistance could end up with our house washed away rather than simply flooded. It strikes me now that that's a really good image to keep in my mind about the futility of resistance and negativity and the value of being open to what washes through.
A hui hou.