A destructive hurricane. Massive flooding. Power outages. Sewage issues. People trapped. Tears. Stories of grief and trauma. Fear and heartache. This hasn't been a week of abundance... or has it?
It is interesting how a time of apparent scarcity brings about awareness. We notice the loss of property and other essentials. We may feel the strain of the power outages and the lack of convenience in our lives. We may even feel the loss of someone. But in being disconnected from our daily routines, we are actually more connected than ever before.
Pre-Sandy, a normal family dinner may have included a television and a handheld device. People rushed to work never looking anyone in the eye, not even knowing their neighbor's name. Public transportation was dreaded and despised, and we prayed for a day to just sit at home and "do nothing." Hot water streamed from our faucets, lights were constantly left on in rooms we did not occupy, and we complained about having to be attached to our email or cell phones.
Today, there are stories of families sitting by candlelight, talking and listening. There is footage of neighbors pulling out giant power strips so strangers can charge their phones. There are reports that the most common words on Twitter and Facebook are no longer Justin Bieber, but "How are you doing?"
Instead of rushing through life we are noticing how others are living and feeling. Old acquaintances are reaching out. People are greeting one another on the street. We are listening, we are talking to each other and we are present. We feel the pain of our neighbors and we are using our hearts, and genuinely giving with our souls.
We probably never prayed for a day that the subways would run again, or for an excuse to go back to work. But most of all we never imagined how much we would have when we had "nothing" at all.
Five Ways to Feel More Abundant Today
- Recognize you are not alone. Somehow when tragedy hits, the world actually seems smaller. Feeling connected to others can create a sense of peace.
- Take stock of what you do have. Are you safe? Do you have shelter? Is your loss replaceable? Express gratitude for what remains.
- Express compassion and help others. When we give of ourselves, we fill our own voids. Sometimes helping others can be as simple as asking them how they are doing and genuinely listening to the answer.
- Embrace the time without the noise. It is possible that in the silence, you will hear messages about your life that you were unable to hear before.
- Pick up the pieces. Water is healing and cleansing. Although the amount of water dumped on all of us was extreme and dangerous, water is about purification and renewal. Maybe this is a chance for a fresh start.
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