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A message from Debbie: Be grateful for the simple things

We can plan for events but the only thing we have control over is ourselves.
We can plan for events but the only thing we have control over is ourselves. nzphotonz

MY ARTICLE a couple of weeks ago was all about uncertainty and the following week provided a lot of that as Cyclone Debbie made her presence known and unleashed her formidable power.

How did you cope? I hope that you, your family and friends got through safely and are finding the support you need to rebuild and gather strength to move ahead.

With Nick in Perth, I was home alone and fortunately we had been pretty thorough in our preparations. And then, like everyone else, I just had to sit and wait - and she made us wait.

It seemed painfully slow to unfold and I could feel the community anxiety building as we regularly checked where the eye might cross the coast, when and with what intensity as she edged her way towards us. As all of this was happening, I was observing myself and my own response.

Although I felt mostly calm, I also recognised that I was somewhat edgy, on high alert and couldn't really focus on anything for long. Like many, I guess, I just wanted it to get a move on and then move off, a little impatient perhaps.

Overall though I was reminded that, where weather is concerned and cyclones in particular, we have absolutely no control. We just have to do our best to plan ahead and then deal with whatever unfolds, not knowing the outcome in advance. But that's true of most things in life isn't it? Consider for a moment, what do we actually have control over?

In reality, the only thing we have control over is our selves; our own behavioural response or reaction, our thoughts, actions, words. Certainly we do not have any control over other people or their behaviour, and in Debbie's aftermath it has been interesting to watch that unfold too.

Major events can bring out the best and the worst behaviour in people, often driven by rising emotional load, often fear. So there were reports of vehicles, barbecues and generators being stolen before the cyclone and some shops looted during it. There were also complaints of how long it was taking to get services, particularly electricity, restored to "normal”.

Then there were also reports of people going above and beyond to help others in whatever way they could - clearing debris, cooking, checking on neighbours, offering shelter, donating their time and-or emergency goods to various organisations and collection points.

So, while it is easy to fall into judgment of others at times like this and look on from our unique perspective and experience, I also feel it's important to recognise our own response and reaction to what's going and let go of our need to control anything external to us, because we can't.

Overall the message for me was to be grateful for everything, large or small, that we generally take for granted when all is going well. What was your message from Debbie?

Topics:  mindfulness tropical cyclone debbie



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