Category Archives: natural disasters

605. What can I learn about myself in natural disasters?

What I experienced the past month was a literal shaking of my foundation, of all that I took for granted, of everything that I believed would be there ‘forever’ and suddenly see the constant changes that can be triggered in our lives sometimes in a literal shocking and destructive manner.

I have dwelled with sorrow at the images of what has been going on in my country, however in that I had been forgetting to see beyond the immediate death and destruction, and instead see the potentials that we have now that everyone has been ‘shaken up to wake up’ in a quite raw manner.

I’ve been talking to some of my friends and I consider we could see such ‘shock’ in our faces, I saw it in mine and the usual comments are related to understanding how the foundation is being shaken, there’s something to become aware of which is usually associated with ‘the Earth being angry at us’ and so ‘punishing us’ with earthquakes, but I consider we all deeply know it is part of an outflow and consequences we have created from a long, long time ago. If anything we can use these cataclysms as ways to wake up from our slumber and start seeing what are we taking for granted, where we are stopping ourselves from doing something based on an emotional experience instead of using what we have in our reality to make the most of our lives.  

There’s a certainty that I’ve gathered through becoming aware of and walking this process of self-transformation and self-change, and that is how most of the times the only way for us to actually get to a point of change is through facing consequence, sometimes very harsh, painful, traumatic and shocking and in this, it’s not to imply that ‘that is what we need,’ but it is a process of accumulating actions and reactions, which cause consequences. I won’t go into speculating ‘why’ it all happened, but it is sufficient to have our foundation rocked to snap out of our alienation towards each other and start focusing on the basics that we’ve taken for granted.

In my case I have discovered to what extent the process of assimilating the levels of destruction can affect my own stability, where the environment around me as the reality I’ve always ‘walked through’ suddenly became a danger zone, inhabitable, in danger of collapsing, seeing its pieces on the floor… I had to process it for a while and even as I write this, there’s this idea coming up of how I am making a ‘big deal’ out of this, I’m focusing more on seeing infrastructure collapse or fall apart – which yes, was certainly a first read and impression. However as days have followed, I’ve been investigating more within and without with others in my community how these events have disrupted their lives in an emotional, financial and even ‘spiritual’ ways which some others claim it is only a temporary ‘awakening’ and soon enough everyone will go back to ‘the same old,’ and I don’t deny that this could happen, but I do what I can to now reflect on how I’ve lived it and take from it what I can learn for myself.

I realized that there was a desire to feel as ‘helpful’ as many others that went to directly assist people to get others out of collapsed buildings or were directly involved in delivering foods and construction materials to those that lost everything they had. I didn’t particularly seek out to assist as in traveling somewhere to do it, my immediate environment wasn’t as damaged so I focused on checking out the most damaged area of my city.

I held conversations with people to know more about how they experienced such earthquakes wherein I could reflect my own fears of losing it all, of imagining having my house suddenly collapse and losing everything which is definitely an apparent worst case scenario. However as I’ve heard people saying to others in a very nonchalant way, if one doesn’t stand back up from this one, it means we are not living life to the fullest and instead allow ourselves to be weakened by it. It is so that times of crisis are great opportunities to rebirth ourselves, to start anew, to recreate, redirect, to innovate, to change our ways and it is also true that this is not going to be a ‘uniform’ process where one single catastrophe will be ‘digested’ the same way by each person, however it is there for everyone to take in or leave it as a catalyst to become more aware of ourselves, to question things further in terms of what we do in our lives, how we live, what we regards of value and worth.

An example is how I required to see such movement to compile things for people that lost it all in order for me to take a couple of days to actually clean up my closets and get to see which clothes I could get rid of and finally give them away, instead of harboring it all within a stubborn thought of ‘I might need it someday’ and place priority over ‘preference’ and give direction to giving it away, regardless of the fears of it not arriving to the ‘right people’ – based on what has happened to a lot of the aid given these days. I decided to do what I could to give it to people that I know could get it to be taken to the right place.

I questioned how I needed to see such ‘dire need’ in order to put that fire under my ass to move to get clothes out of my closet, and at the same time realize how much I have invested on all of those clothes throughout the years in a form of insanity that I am now placing as a point to watch out for based on following trends from the generations that have gone before me, where stocking up on clothes and other things becomes a way to live in fear, to stash stuff ‘just in case’ and in that, there’s a compulsion that I only got to reflect on when comparing what I had to what many lost in a matter of seconds.

I’ve also been constantly more aware of the latent fear of death that can exist if one focuses too much on knowledge and information, on thinking about the potential aftershocks and what ifs, but even if one has a plan, there are many things that we cannot ever predict, we cannot ever control and instead we can only make peace with where we’re at in such moments where disaster knocks our door and trust ourselves in being able to act in the moment in the best way possible.

However here the focus then becomes on living, not on constantly watching out ‘where one is’ in fear of having another great shake happening. Sure, I have been cautious specially when walking around downtown where old buildings are and sure some of them are falling apart bit by bit at times, and sure there’s that caution and awareness, but I have also challenged such fear that has prevented so many from going out normally, which has caused a stagnation in the city, causing people to not be making the usual amount of money to live and in that of course causing economic problems that are not good for anyone.

What I can do? Lead a life of normalcy and working on my own normalcy to not dive into fears, be cautious and aware yet without loading the constant ‘fear of death’ or something ‘really bad’ happening now – it is a form of PTSD that many people are dealing with currently. Many are having problems with sleeping, many are being shaken into a point of fear by the minutest earth movements experienced, many that were affected are suddenly having their financial plans disrupted, as it happens with any emergency in our worlds/lives.

What I did was realize that living in fear is not really living at all, just rehashing in my mind a constant state of probabilities that lead to a worst case scenario – and I’ve been working on it to instead focus on the physicality of things, what is existing in the moment while reminding myself that I can only trust myself to act as fast as I can wherever I get to be if/when similar situations were to happen again.

There are others that fear the potential collapse that this can bring, however one thing that I’ve had to remind myself many times is how in order for the new to emerge, we have to get rid of the old, and no it doesn’t meant that we have to ‘destroy it all’ but it does mean that sometimes – again – shocking events like these do become a catalyst for change, for openings, for innovations, for restructuring things that we would not have otherwise questioned, because in stability everything is kept in a sense of normalcy, an ‘everything is ok’ and ‘there’s nothing to improve or work on’ and when such foundation is rocked, well guess what? One finds out there’s a can of worms that opens up for us to look at, which is not nice, not pretty, it has been disheartening most of the times yet, it is part of how we’ve collectively caused these consequences in a way that it’s beyond our awareness at the moment.

And this is me not only writing about ‘the external,’ but what I’ve realized about myself and how I had seen and lived within me before these events and how this whole past month became one big fuzziness of days after days of not doing something entirely productive for myself, where I did allow myself to get consumed by the information of what was going on, where I went into an experience of ‘not knowing what I should do’ and in that paralyze and not do anything at all other than reflecting on it, seeing how I felt about it but still being caught in the fear of the situation for many reasons, because here it wasn’t only the earthquake that happened, but the realization of how vile our human nature can be in times of utmost disaster when it comes to money/power/political interests and opportunism, which translated in an increased sense of collective paranoia, insecurity and fear that has taken some time for some of us that ‘dwelled’ too much on it.

And that’s the thing there, I have had the time to dwell too much in it, to think about the situation because of not directly doing something about it, and that’s what I realize I can now learn from and consider next time. Instead of being thinking, worrying and fearing about it, to see what can I do to continue to have a purposeful existence even in the face of disasters, having uncertainty, fears, stress, worry, concern based on the reality of what has happened.  

Here I also had to let go of the guilt felt for not actually going somewhere to help, but do what I was able to do and what I willed myself to do without compromising or going into a sense of duty based on morality of what’s good or bad. I decided to be more of an available point of communication for those that were more shaken by the situation for whichever reason, and in that assist myself to talk through about it wherein I realized how in my attempt to ‘support others’ I was also assisting myself to voice the ways through, to create clarity about things and to be also sincere in the situation without adding some magical twist of it all such as ‘things happen for a reason’ or that kind of thing, but simply seeing what can we create within ourselves in the aftermath, what can we collectively wake up to and change.

And in that, I also saw a lot of people suddenly care about things that would not have been a regular point of awareness of, however I have to realize that it is up to each individual to take on these events as catalysts for self-change an so collective change or let it go by, just like a sudden bump on the road and going back to the same old without any further improvement.

Do we really need to be shaken this way to wake up? Based on the principle of what’s best for all, it is not. However crisis, suffering, loss or facing our ‘worst case scenarios’ many times do become such wake up call for us to reflect on.

What can I take from this? How many of us have been divided and conquered in the face of stability, of status quo, of our reality being seemingly ‘immovable’ and how the moment that things literally fall apart, this sense of community, solidarity emerge, and how such solidarity emerges only in the face of catastrophe but not being ‘there’ all the time. My point is to remind myself and each other of how we don’t need such grave forms of destruction and suffering in order to change, however I cannot prevent it either nor judge it whenever we get to create such consequences again and instead, see it as a result of a process to take us back to the self-awareness and self-investigation spot: what can I learn from what I’ve been going through? And in my case it’s got to do to realizing how much the literal shakes in life affected my inner stability until I decided to stop feeding myself too much information about it and get to continue focusing on what I want to live and create in my life.

There is also a need for me to make peace with the fact that reality changes and how it can change drastically ‘overnight’ without notice and how I/we cannot prevent such sudden changes, we can only learn to adapt, learn to understand the outflows of our creation in order to see what can we learn from consequence, from our mistake in order to now build the new – within and without – and that’s a way to make a ‘good use’ so to speak of these situations, to see what got ‘shaken up’ within myself based on what I saw and experienced in my external reality and seeing where and how I am still defining myself on based on the things that I see such as the environment that I had taken for granted as ‘immovable’ or almost ‘invincible’ over time. It has shown me the fragility of that which seems colossal and strong which again, is a way to reflect it back to myself and how I’ve discovered this month to what extent I still play the ‘strong and tough’ one but in the inside actually suppressing the emotions, the sorrow, the pain that I’ve experienced in various ways throughout this year and that I had kept it within myself in a very suppressed way in order to make believe that ‘I’m fine and done with it’ but it’s not so, and I have to make peace with the processing or digesting of situations, with the time it takes for me to truly ‘heal’ from situations in my life and in that to understand the opening for recreation that all of these seemingly bad, awful and ‘negative’ things happening in our lives.

I’ve definitely learned to skip the ‘why us’ question to seeing straight to what we can get out of ourselves to show the better versions that we can be, not only in the face of disaster as a condition to do so, but now really testing ourselves to see how much we are willing to continue assisting, supporting ourselves and others in the measure of our capacity, regardless of losing everything or having things falling apart around us in order to push ourselves to do so.

Lastly, I’ve had to walk through the bits of anger that come up when seeing the protagonist role corruption has had when it comes to the deviation of resources for aid here, I’ve seen people get angry and bitter about it, plainly pissed off… I haven’t even been able to express that, I went straight into sadness and had to remind myself that it’s nothing really shocking or new for that matter, though I had ‘hoped’ that based on this all being during times of distress that people would at least curb their ‘corrupt ways’ to a certain extent, but in some other ways it was simply harnessed as more opportunities to steal, cheat or deceive in order to feed certain delusions of power and control.  I’ve had to make peace with the realization that not even the most ‘tragic events’ would bring about a sudden instant change in humanity and how this will all depend on each individual, but it isn’t at all about a collective ‘one way ticket to self-awareness’ development with the experience of a crisis like this.

I’ve also come to appreciate the few people I can talk to and relate to on a deeper level that seem to see things in a similar way that I do, even if it’s using different terms or ways to get to the same conclusion, I am also glad that this has become a catalyst to start talking about things that would have probably sounded too ‘out of this world’ before, and that now are becoming more of an accepted way, such as the impact that we can have on our extreme weather, how certain scientific tenets are suddenly being massively placed into question, how the constructs of power are even more so placed into question more than before, and just like the ‘opening of the can of worms’ it’s never a nice or pretty thing to do or sight, however it is a very necessary process  if we want to get to face ourselves.

To me this is a level of ‘self process’ that relates to my environment, to how I relate to it, how I had taken people and places for granted and at the same time how I had become dependent on these ‘never changing scenarios’ in my reality and suddenly having to deal with changes that I’ve seen have had an effect on me that I would not have become aware of if none of these earthquakes or extreme weather conditions would have happened.

Lastly, I can only speak more as a spectator than an actual person that faced any real hardship. I only became a spectator of people’s reactions and assimilation of the situation, and realized I cannot do much more than continue doing what I have been doing up to now, to dedicate my life to becoming the potential that I am aware I can become and in that become aware of the flaws, the weaknesses that I allow to direct and control me such as ‘paralyzing in fear’ type of experience that I’ve gone through in the past weeks, learning from it, not judging myself from such experience – but standing up from it in the realization that, I now know what it is like to be encapsulated in endless threads of information, developing paranoia and fear about the situation and instead continue living as usual.

I can recommend the new audios at eqafe.com where weather and nature are explained in a way that clarifies what it means to say that natural disasters are existential consequences we are facing

And this public chat about ‘helping’ others that has been quite supportive as well to understand this pattern.

 

 Resilience

 

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604. Breathe, Keep Calm AND Have a Plan

Or how to first sort out the emotional fears and reactions to unexpected natural disasters while developing a plan of action to know what to do in such cases.

This has been quite a literally shaky couple of weeks with the earthquakes we’ve gotten here in Mexico and I’ll share how I experienced both of them in a significantly different manner based on how I was able to support myself with the Desteni tools in order to understand my experience within the first one. So I’ll describe the first experience as ‘the problem’ so to speak where I got most conflicted about it and the second earthquake experience as the solution or the different outcome once that I was able to address all the points that emerged during ‘the problem’ experience in the first earthquake over a week ago.

There was an 8.1 earthquake on September 7th late at night and I had a hard time in it because it was the first time I was experiencing such a strong earthquake where I live and I had no plan of action compared to where I lived before. The immediate thing I did was grab my phone and start calling people… wrong choice all the way! of course lines paralyze and in that I wasn’t paying attention to acting in the moment to get out of the house or find a ‘safer spot’ to be in. My desire in that moment was to call someone to feel some comfort, some ‘company’, in fact wanting someone to kind of ‘know I’m alive and shit might hit the fan and I might die’ type of fear considering it was at night and I was alone, and it wasn’t going to be as fast to get out because all doors were very well locked and I had no ‘mind’ to think of getting the keys and opening, at all, because I paralyzed in my desires triggered by fears: fear of being alone, fearing of dying ultimately.

In that moment I felt that my legs were quivery and even if I didn’t feel ‘alarmed’ in my mind, my physical body just felt like a wet noodle that would not be able to move anyway further than being under the door frame, holding my phone and trying to call people, which didn’t work at all, leaving then a sensation of feeling alone/lonely and in those moments desiring to not be alone as in going into an emotional experience and thought of  ‘I don’t want to die alone’ or ‘I wish I could be hugging someone right now’ type of emotional pattern that I identified with my experience that came after it all happened. I also felt my upper legs just feeling really weak, which is interesting to cross reference how my sister had the exact same experience in it, which is just emotional fear manifested in the body.

Besides these emotional aspects, the momentary experience is also linked to me not having any plan of ‘what to do’ in those moments, because I had not at all taken the time to look at possible scenarios considering this is a highly active seismic area and it’s definitely common sensical to have a plan of action, which I had not taken the time to look at.

So, I sounded self forgiveness in those following days in order to see what were all the emotional bits that were in fact being the cause for my experience, such as how I felt alone/lonely, my desire for physical closeness with someone in those moments – which is in fact me recreating a previous experience of an earthquake where I felt comfort in hugging my sister as it was taking place, therefore this time feeling ‘without that comfort’ because ‘there was no one I could hug.’ Here for example some might say well it makes sense to prefer not being alone, sure, but here I also had to accept my current reality and in that self-forgive my own conditions of what would be ‘preferable’ to experience in those moments, because these are points I have no control on, and all I can do then is ensure I am not holding a memory onto myself as a source of reference which is in fact a memory that involves a lot of fear, anguish and false sense of comfort – all of these points I had to address within me through self-forgiveness in order to clearly see how I have conditioned myself to react in such emotional physical fear during earthquakes.

The ultimate fear behind it all was fear of death and fear of ‘dying alone’ specifically – which means  yes, having to self-forgive the fear of dying in an earthquake due to a collapse, then also self-forgiving some of the reactions I’ve learned from how family members react to earthquakes and so enable me to see how becoming emotional is not at all the way to face these situations, and instead realizing how I could transform all of those emotional reactions to instead having a clear plan of action as in ‘what to do’ in such situations.

I then wrote out – as in scripting myself, the same that we do with ‘writing corrective statements’ – where I described how as soon as I start feeling the tremor, I immediately go downstairs and out of the house – if there’s no more time to go out, then having some reasonable spots where to remain in such situations depending where I’m at in the house. In this what I did was ensure that my immediate response to an earthquake is to act, move, go as fast as I can downstairs and out of the house , having identified two different spots on the front and the back where I can be in.

This 8.1 earthquake is the strongest oscillatory one that I’ve felt, it was quite bad and yes I also felt powerless to do anything to stop it of course, which I then also had to make peace with in order to rather focus on what I can do, instead of being ‘waiting for it to stop’ and paralyze in the meantime.

Now, back to September 19th’s earthquake which was unfortunately trepidatory, it was a very different scenario, a radical change took place within me – lol, it sucks because I’ve been having these recurrent slight movements felt and just as I am typing I feel these slight movements, but as some people say, it’s simply a leftover from the previous experience so all I can do is reference my surroundings to see if something is really moving or not. Sometimes the aftershocks are quite common but lower in intensity, so in any case unless things shake in a more violent manner, I don’t have to necessarily ‘go out.’

So this time around of course it was a different scenario, there was broad daylight, I wasn’t alone, the door was open (we have to lock everything very well at night unfortunately since it is not a ‘safe’ country to leave doors open etc.) I was in the same spot as in the previous one, here at my desk, so I dropped everything, this time I didn’t stop to ‘take the cellphone’ or anything, just went outside as fast as I could and there was of course a ‘rush’ mode within me, but it wasn’t at all an experience of fear or paralyzing as in not being able to move or feeling emotional or physically weak as it happened in the previous one, and I was able to this time tell others to breathe and calm down while being quite stable within me, of course while checking if something could potentially fall over me.

The conclusion is that having sounded self forgiveness on all the emotional points and fears that emerged in that moment as I was experiencing the first quake, even in relation to past memories of earthquakes, really assisted with being able to clear the emotional reaction to this kind of unpredictable events and instead focus entirely on ensuring I take care of myself first: moving, acting, going into an actual ‘survival mode’ which in fact enables one to act quickly, move faster – which I had not experienced at all in the previous one where my focus went onto ‘others’ instead of focusing on myself first, and I found out it was because I was reacting emotionally to it rather than having a practical plan on what to do in those moments.

This time I was able to rather assist others that did go into a bit of a shock for it such as my mother, to whom I was able to assist in calming down as I was also calm and was able to share all of this that I’ve just written out, what I did to practically settle myself and how it had actually worked well for me, which was cool. I also assisted in the sense of doing something physical to settle ourselves out of seeing all the incoming information like baking a pie together so that she had something to focus on for a moment while her house had no power. So this is another way to yes be together in those moments and do something physical that ‘settles one down’ in the aftermath, because one usually is not hungry, only consuming as much info as one can and in that yeah a form of psychosis can ensue if one doesn’t remain grounded and settled in those moments. So, being creative is also a suggestion in how to face those moments.

I also then was able to visit some friends and yes, share our stories of how we spent the time during the earthquake but all in all have a moment together and find the time to relax a bit and comfort each other, share tips of what to do, etc. Because it is kind of silly to feel ‘alone’ as an emotional outcome during this kind of disasters when there is virtually no person that would not have experienced it at all and in that, it does become something we can all assist each other to walk through, which I did through keeping in contact with my friends in Mexico City as well and sharing my solutions and ways of looking at these events so as to possibly assist them as well in settling with it – and of course receiving that support back from them which I am grateful for.

In the previous earthquake I also had a harder time because of not being able to contact my parents, which I later on knew didn’t even feel it because they were on the road, and I then learned how the way to contact people is through apps like whatsapp because all regular cell lines get saturated in those moments. So, as the song goes ‘you live, you learn’ and take note of it to know ‘what to do’ next time.

In this I am quite fortunate because there were no real damages where I live, however I have been looking at what’s going on in Mexico City and that’s a different scenario, things are not at all easy there and yes, I’ve had to also stabilize myself and realize that I cannot go to certain places to try and help when I don’t have the ways or resources to directly do it, nor is it a good idea to just play savior when it’s not in my immediate environment.

I found this audio on ‘the savior complex’ quite supportive as a preparation for what I experienced – unknowingly so – this past Tuesday, and I recommend checking it out because I bet we can all relate to feeling sad, helpless, powerless to change certain things in our environment, and instead focus back on what I can do, how I can continue living and supporting myself and others in a way that is practical and available to me at the moment, so, have a listen to it because it assisted me in understanding the ‘bigger picture’ of things and within doing so, not perpetuate the emotional reactions to this kind of events.

Also in my case it is to let go of wanting things to just go ‘back to normal’ quickly, there are many halts in activities going on like schools and normal activities, which is understandable, I have to make peace with the fact that this is an event of heavy impact that does alter the ‘natural course’ of events, and that we will eventually see what is it that we can learn from these events as we go.

Sometimes we want to understand ‘why’ these things happen when it comes to natural events, but I’d been rather focusing on seeing how we can prepare ourselves beforehand and if we can’t, then how we can face these situations in a practical way, focusing on reality, what we see and is directly happening in our environment – instead of focusing on the inner-experience as memories, emotions, fears, future projections related to ‘the worst case scenario’ that clog our ability to act in the physical. For all of that clogging, there’s the self-writing, self-forgiveness and writing out a practical plan of action which was of great support to me.

Thanks for reading.  

What to do in earthquakes

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