The Storm

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When was your last storm?

The morning after a violent Atlantic storm breaks on the West Coast of Ireland. I was in a tent for the night.

Not the kind that you buy your weatherproof Goretex jacket for, or watch through the lounge window. Not a physical storm like a typhoon or hurricane in the natural world, but a more personal storm that bubbles up from nowhere, comes at you unyielding and unrelenting from ‘across the sea’, or surprises you when you are vulnerable up on the mountain.  Not merely a rainy day, but a fierce seasonal storm.  Every year or so…  Loss. Bereavement. Fear. Failure. Disappointment. Catastrophe. Serious illness.

And how do you weather that storm? It’s an interesting question isn’t it. How did you weather your last one? (Please tell me briefly in the comment box below.)

I’ve experienced a good few storms in my time. In the last few months I’ve been through another inner storm. Today, as I sit in a bar on the South Bank of the Thames in London between seeing clients, it has thankfully blown itself out. The weather front has passed. Calm has returned. The sun is shining again. There is a little damage, sure, but not too much. I may need to do some repair work here and there, but it is manageable, and I’m now in a different place, for a storm can be the catalyst to a profound reorientation of life. In a good way. A veritable Powerchange!  Or not.

Here are six ways that people react to storms:

  1. Stand in a sheltered place and watch.
  2. Hide until someone tells you it’s over.
  3. Experience it ‘full on’, feeling its every bluster.
  4. Pretend it isn’t happening.
  5. Be afraid and/or try to escape.
  6. Resist until your strength is gone.

My methods seem to oscillate between 6 and 3. I hang on for as long as possible, determined to weather it or even overcome it(!) but such is the strength of the storms that seem to come my way (or maybe I’m not as strong as I expected) I finally lose my grip and am blown away by it, away from the familiar territory I’ve become accustomed to, out of my depth, tossed like an autumn leaf by the wind of this disturbing adversity. Sucked up into the air. And when the wind dies down and its power spent I discover that I’m some distance from where I was before the storm took hold of me. In a new place, a good place, with the storm having blown itself out, and the sun warming my tired storm-tossed body. With new, refreshed territory to survey that wasn’t ‘there’ before. Better?  Wiser?  Stronger.

And when I’ve rested awhile and my strength has returned, I discover that the storm has blown me in the direction I actually wanted to go. And I notice the footprints of the Kind Stranger. And I’m sort of …

Grateful.

PS. I’m running a personal development course called SEVEN in London over the winter – First Saturday of the month in Hammersmith>  Here’s the link for more info: SEVEN.   I’d love you to come, perhaps with a friend.  Call me: 07771631945.

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