I have a fair bit of PTSD around excessive wind and water. In all, over my 7 decades, I've been through 10 or 11 hurricanes. One or two early in my life in Houston, a couple in the Caribbean (sailing), and a bunch between Philly and Cape Cod. Then there was nearly getting killed trying to sail a small racing trimaran (3 hulls) alone to Bermuda.
Weather forecast lied then. 15 to 20 knots of wind turned into way way more. Strapped into the tiny bunk in the dark, tensing up in fear as each next stacked-up wave crashed sideways into the little boat--I was terrorized. Just praying frantically each time she would survive what were bashing, violent snap-rolls across endless oncoming crests.
Ultimately, the boat did fine. But I was seriously traumatized. I had to fly to Bermuda and help deliver a 40 ft. sloop back to the US, or I was afraid I would never go to sea again.
But I'm Also a Shaman
At the same time, I'm a shaman. My world view is animistic. In my everyday experience, planet Earth (Gaia) is a loving, nurturing consciousness. And if my longstanding passion for strong winds and the thrill of surfing big waves has also been significantly tempered by enduring the terror they can inspire--still, we humans are not listening. So Gaia has to shout and yell. We continue to doggedly destabilize what is possibly the most benevolent climate she has ever given us. She's trying wake us up before it's too late.
So I have a special relationship with big storms, and all forms of extreme weather. Big wind and wild water seem to have followed me wherever I've gone. I truly love their power and majesty. At the same time, I have experienced intimately the physical and psychological damage violent elements can do. So Gaia has talked to me, and given me the best way to wrap myself in a capsule of safety.
Staying Safe in a Major Hurricane--
How Does That Work?
"Superstorm Sandy" got very gentle around my house 12 hours before she calmed down even a couple miles away. This made the difference between trees down, basement flooded, driveway washed out--and next to no damage.
I've been told to share this method of creating safety with you here. Gaia wants you to know it. It has three steps. One is physical, one psychological, and the other is spiritual. Each one has its place. Each is important.
As a lifelong poet and songwriter, I craft and use tight, vivid affirmations both to help clear stresses and problems in myself, and to manifest better outcomes in life. I'm a survivor of pretty serious caregiver trauma, so there is at times for me a rather narrow calm state between anxiety and over-excited anticipation. Like, either too worried or too wired.
Affirmations help me a lot to manage this moderate "disregulation." I tailor and use them with my clients as well. And from time to time, people have asked me to share some of these more broadly. So I'll include a few here.
There are two primary ways in which I work with affirmations. One is high tech, and the other low tech, no tech--or maybe spiritual tech. The high tech version involves recorded auto-suggestion while drowsy or sleeping. I'll explain the process of setting that up in another blog.
The Spirit Tech Version
This is very simple and harnesses the power of breath. I create short, focused two or four line poems and repeat the first line on OutBreath One (or InBreath One, start either way), the second line on OutBreath Two, and so on if it's a four liner. The idea is to synchronize the lines with your breathing while calming yourself down, or already in a meditative state.
On the OutBreaths, I visualize sending the reality depicted in the line out to manifest in my world. On the InBreaths, I'm taking reality of the line into my body and being so that I can acknowledge and live it. So for example, a very simple affirmation for health and well-being goes like this.
I'm safe (OutBreath One)
well (InBreath One)
happy (OutBreath Two)
and loved (InBreath Two)
or I might, since the lines are very short, do it over just one breath cycle, as in
I'm safe, well (OutBreath One)
Happy, and loved (InBreath One)
As I share a few more generally useful ones below, remember please, they are designed to be used with the breath. You don't have to--but trust me, it works better.
3 Steps to Safety in Extreme Weather
Power up Your Affirmations with Breath
Personality Layers--Why Some Wounds Need More Than One Healing
Seed Time--or Grow a Good Future
Solution Focus Solves the Problem
Can Empathy Win at Armageddon?
Earth, Families, and Personal Transformation
Good Health as a Sacred Fire
Your Safety as Earth-Changes Accelerate
Karen and the Alien Hand--Why I Do Inner Family Constellations
Music, Migrations, and Health--In Tough Times
Better Private Family Constellations: The Three Session Package
Five Facts About Personal and Ancestral Trauma