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