The tsunami was a tragedy and there is much still to be done. But many see it as the catalyst for a renewed entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit that will ensure Japan maintains its place as the leading high tech country in the world.
With so little time to try to escape, tsunami preparedness becomes the most important thing in saving lives. Unfortunately, the response of many Japanese to that warning was inadequate due to their lack of tsunami preparedness training.
On the first anniversary of that horrific event, we will be copiously reminded of the death, suffering and destruction. Anne Thomas reminds us, instead, of the acts of kindness, capturing our collective, global empathy.
Right now, the people of Japan are facing the worst disaster of their lifetimes. But around the world, others are facing their own personal meltdowns. During these times of crushing loss, how do we begin to climb out of the hole?
Watching the devastation first unfold in northern Japan from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear facility meltdown, I was sad beyond belief. I reached out immediately to see if my friends in Tokyo were OK.
Governments and agencies too often rush to enter the third or Reconstruction Phase that follows a disaster of this magnitude without understanding the consequences of ignoring the deeply held emotional traumas of the local population.
We need to learn skills for coping with our feelings of sadness, anger and terror evoked by tragedies like those in Fukushima, Katrina and Haiti, so that we rise to these occasions rather than collapse into them.
That bumper sticker kept going over and over in my mind: "The best things in life aren't things." And yet, as true as I knew it to be, I still couldn't help but feel somewhat sick to my stomach that most of my things were now in a pile of ash.
The pace of change is quickening exponentially, while our ability to contain it falls further behind. The idea of being in control of everything is being replaced with the recognition that, in truth, we are in control of very little.
In the current critical moment, the Japanese calamity has shown all the world the harsh downside risks of just a few of the societal compromises we've made. In response to this wake-up call, a shift could happen.
Mother Nature today, yesterday the loss of a job, the illness of a friend or the unspeakable violence of someone wielding a gun in Arizona forces us to re-decide where to place our faith and what really matters.
There are some simple steps you can take to become less obsessed with disaster, and yet still be compassionately involved with your fellow man. Doing these things will engage your mind, heart and being in positive, life-affirming ways.