For the past 40 years, Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22, it's the one day of the year where the world is supposed to stop, take a smog-filled breath and think about how we can make positive changes in sustainability, climate policy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. It is a time where people like Richard Branson speak about his committed to finding a carbon-neutral solution for air travel. It's when travelers research the best eco-friendly resorts in the world for their next vacation. And, where we stop and think about the damage that has been done by coal mining in the once-picturesque hill of West Virginia. Ironically, the slogan for West Virginia tourism is, "Virginia is for lovers."
It seemed like Mother Nature was in a hurry to celebrate her special day and decided to throw her own party in Iceland. It's possible that she wanted to remind us measly mortals about her power, strength and ability to really screw things up. Most times, natural disasters really don't affect us lucky folks who live in big, centrally heated houses in the West. When there is a hurricane or earthquake in a third world country, we go online, donate a few bucks, then jump into our SUVs and speed back to our lives. But when itty-bitty particles from a little-known volcano named Eyjafjallajokull shut down the European airways, car manufacturing plants, and businesses throughout Europe, then we start to notice.
So, what do you do? You're stuck all because of a natural disaster you can't control. Here are five pieces of wisdom from some incredible humans that might get you through this difficult time. Feel free to print out and laminate.
1. Viktor Frankl, death camp survivor and author of Man"s Search for Meaning:
"At least you're not on your way to Auschwitz."
Life has meaning under all conditions, even when you are stuck at the airport. At least you're not at a train station on your way to a work camp in Poland. Be grateful for your life, even though it's going to take you a few extra days to get back to it.
2. Marilyn Monroe, actress:
"I believe that everything happens for a reason."
Remember all those famous stories of people who were late to work on 9-11, but lived because of it? Perhaps this was your lucky day. What if you were in a plane that sucked up ash and crashed? Isn't a few extra days grounded worth having the rest of your life to experience?
3. Mark Twain, author of many great books including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Puffin Classics):
"Don't go around saying the world owes you anything. The world owes you nothing. It was here first."
A volcano exploded and the cool part is that you'll always have a great story to tell about this crazy event. So, just chill or start blogging about it. Someone will write about book about how the world changed the week the volcano exploded. And wouldn't it be great if you got quoted in that book? Like Stephen Covey says, "Live, learn, and leave and legacy." This might be your chance.
4. Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr, American theologian and philosopher, the author of the Serenity Prayer:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Sometimes the universe wants to serve you up a big plate of patience. So, take this time grounded to think about your life, what it represents and if there is anything you need to change when you get home.
5. George Harrison, member of The Beatles:
"Here Comes the Sun."
Yep, this too shall pass and you'll get back to your life, and hopefully you are going to have a bit more appreciation for your cozy bed, your sweet love, and all the creature comforts of home that you took for granted before your great misadventure. Maybe you'll say, "Thank you" more and give a few extra hugs per day.
Perhaps the past few days were Mother Nature's little way of reminding us what's important and who is actually in control. Obviously, She is.
Please share your volcano stories with me, maybe I'll be the author who writes that book about the week Europe fell to its knees because of ash. Post the miracles and magic that happened when you were at the beck and call of Mother Earth.