One day, after my husband was working in our garden, my son randomly blurted out that a tornado is Mother Nature’s tiller.
Having a young child who is fascinated with weather this type of comment is pretty normal, but on this day, the image of a tornado tilling the land was quite significant. This powerful vision inspired me to see the mighty storm from a different perspective, as a healer.
Humbly, I admit that sometimes our human arrogance prevents us from seeing things from the bigger picture, but Mother Nature has her own agenda to nurture the Earth. The storm is just Mother Nature’s tool for shaking away all that is not alive. This provides the opportunity to re-fertilize the Earth so that new seeds can be planted.
Growing up on the East Coast, I have experienced a number of brilliant storms, especially hurricanes. One of the most recognizable features of a hurricane is the eye, the point about which the rest of the storm rotates and where the lowest surface pressures are found (the calm of the storm).
However, it seems that we are taught from our early years to run in fear or go around to avoid the storm at all costs. This is unfortunate because it is through the storm (challenge) that we grow.
So how do we really navigate into the storm?
1. Be the Eye
In order to navigate into the storm you need to BE THE EYE before the storm engages your radar. I believe this starts when we observe and build a relationship with our own inner peace. This connection to your inner world empowers you to navigate through any storm with peace.
The storm is the opportunity and the eye is the gift! Embracing simple meditation where you focus on inner silence is the first step. This type of simple silent meditation will help you move through tough situations while they are happening. We all know how much time one can waste with the "could have, should have, would have." Don’t be a Monday morning quarterback to your own life.
Gaiam TV’s Stepping Into the Heart meditation guide can help you learn to be peaceful despite life's storms.
2. A Powerful One-Word Mantra
Having a key word (as simple as "peace") will help you instantly move into a conscious space when being distracted by the storm. I often find that when a situation is impressed upon you, it is very easy to react. Having a mantra will be the immediate reminder to take a deep breath, pause, and then reproach.
Recently, I experienced a situation at our gym where a woman was very angry with me because I brought my 6-year-old son and 10-year-old niece into the woman’s changing room.
As I entered the locker room, I asked the moms I saw if they would mind if I brought my son in to quickly change. I was very courteous as we changed in the last stall and then headed toward the exit. As we were leaving an older woman stopped me to yell at me about my disrespectful choice to bring my 6-year-old son into the women’s change room.
As she was yelling at me in front of the kids everything inside me wanted to yell back. However, I thought of my mantra as I looked into my son’s wide eyes; it reminded me to be present with this situation or I would regret my reaction.
After she finished her attack I simply said, "I wish you would have just shared your discomfort with this situation, because I believe we could have solved this issue with a gentle conversation and a little compassion for both sides." I apologized and shared that I do not feel comfortable sending a young boy into a men’s locker room alone.
Even now, I do see her point of view; however, we could have arrived at a solution to the problem with compassion and communication.
2. Meditate into the Past
Spending time in the past is usually a spiritual "no no" as the goal is to try to be more present. However,
The truth is you cannot change the past, but we have the power to press replay so we can learn.
Start by finding the space where you are compassionate with yourself. We are here to make mistakes, so it may take a few times to maneuver through the many different challenges that life can sometimes throw our way.
Next, as you ground yourself with breath, think of a time where you were disappointed about how you handled a situation or the ripple effect that came from a situation you did not like. Sit with this uncomfortable feeling instead of trying to push it away! Feeling the discomfort is an open door, welcoming you to step into your own healing.
When you have walked through this experience as it happened and have sat with the discomfort, let it go.
Then, like a playbook, talk yourself through a couple different options. Be creative and use your imagination until you feel good about how it played out in your mind. As a friend of mine recently told me, "Don’t unpack your bags in the past. But the past can be a great tool to progress."
3. Be Authentic
We can sometimes find ourselves in difficult situations because our culture is very right way vs wrong way. This leaves very little room for critical thinking and backs us into a box of limitations.
Reaction is usually our first defense in a difficult situation, so be mindful.
Avoiding reaction takes practice, so simply being conscious of our choices is how we grow. Be authentic to your understanding that you are human, and when we face new situations for the first time, just like our children, we are building upon our life experiences, each time a more conscious outcome that equals wisdom.
When we master how to find peace in chaos, we will see the storm is rather beautiful. However, just like any good storm, you have to trust that the Divine knows best and will shake away all the false parts of you and your life. If you are open to this process, you have to celebrate all the things that fall away. Live bravely!