Friday, July 6, 2012

Being Calm Within A Storm

As a resident of Los Angeles, storms are not something that I am totally familiar with.

EARTHQUAKES, maybe, but not storms. Not literal weather storms.

You see, when you have been in thunder that is deafening, and lightning that is striking quite low, and winds that are blowing your lawn chairs across the yard, and rains that are pouring down so hard that you cannot even see straight in front of you, AND THIS IS YOUR SUMMER WEATHER... when you are used to such situations, a little sprinkle here and there will not frighten you one bit.

How is this true?

Well, when you know that you will be living in a stormy region, you prepare. You prepare because you know that the storms will come often, hard, and heavy, and there won't be a thing you can do about it. You try to take control of the situation before it occurs. You realize that being ill-prepared will put you at risk and you don't want to be vulnerable (without shelter or warmth) when a huge storm hits.

When you live in a place like Los Angeles, when even sprinkling rains meander through the skies people literally skid on the roads and the roads literally come apart in chunks that we lovingly refer to as potholes.

It is only when a small drizzle comes to town that us Angelinos realize that we need new wipers, new tires, brighter lights... we dig through junky closets to find jackets, hoodies, umbrellas, and shoes (instead of flip flops). WE ARE NOT EVEN PREPARED FOR THE SLIGHTEST CHANGE IN THE WEATHER, AND SO EVEN A LAUGHABLE CHANGE SEEMS LIKE THE END OF THE WORLD!

Now let us apply this to real life. Preparation is key. When I look back and I think about how I have reacted during stressful times, it can be quite scary. Remember Y2K??? THAT'S ME! Scrambling about trying to hold on to and accumulate anything from anywhere that might get me through just one more hour. How healthy is this? I can tell you, it is not healthy one bit.

During calm times it is key to realize that stress will eventually head our way. A storm is coming, we may not be able to predict the extremity or exact onset, but it is inevitable. It will arrive. And being ready can save us from some bad decisions.

Some people like to over eat, zone out, escape through substance abuse, lash out at others, consume, or all of the above. Basically, everyone seeks to gain pleasure and avoid pain. Storms create pain, especially when we are exposed and the weather was so unexpected. Especially when it LOOKED so sunny out early one June morning and then one day in August we find ourselves looking back and asking "When was the last time we saw the sun?!"

Although pain is a part of human existence, we must search during trials. We must reevaluate. And yes, we must change. Not change to avoid responsibilities altogether, but allow the situation to change us. For the better. Some people focus inward and others focus outward, but I would say that we must focus both on ourselves as well as on others. We must not ignore the pain, but we also should not let it consume our being. IT SUCKS! But sometimes we must ask ourselves "Why is this happening and what can I learn from this?"

Being treated poorly may teach us how to treat, and how not to treat, others. Being judged may help us to give people second chances, and third and fourth and fifth chances, when everyone one else has quit on that annoying person and decided to just talk about them instead of interact and reach out. Being overworked can help us learn how to take vacations. Being broke can teach us to budget. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that bad situations are FUN or EXCITING.

But think of who you would be if you never experienced some of the things you have gone through.

These situations shape and mold us. So never let them hold you back. Only let them guide you forward. In looking back you will see that you have been able to stand multiple tests. Use your bettered self to make you a beacon to your friends, family, and "enemies."

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