Tag Archives: plan of action in natural disasters

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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