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.
At the age of 20, I read Siddhartha… more than once. Herman Hesse’s short novel retold the story of the Buddha so eloquently, I thought. Sitting in the back of buses, lonely and estranged from both family and my religious upbringing, criss-crossing Europe on art history tours during a junior year abroad--I dreamed of walking the path outlined so beautifully in the book.
Somehow, like the Buddha, I would leave the family for asceticism and training. Maybe I already had. But then would come immersion in business, passion, and wealth, followed finally by that enlightened epiphany in which I saw it all as “illusion”-- and realized my essential oneness with everything. It was the classic, heroic, individual quest for unity with a transcendent Divine. I drank it in like a starving child.
But What About the Planet?
Roughly four and a half decades later, that quest remains. But progress has not come in the ways I thought it would. The grand vision absorbed in my youth had some things totally backwards. In some respects, it started me (and many others) walking more or less in the wrong direction.
Take the idea, still evident in Christianity and in Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, for instance—that Mother Earth and this life on her are really just a platform for private spiritual evolution. She’s all maya—illusion—anyway. Or worse, sinful. Get on to nirvana, or heaven, as fast as you can. That’s all that matters.
While there’s some truth to this, still, with a whole planet it crisis, it can be irresponsible, escapist, and downright dangerous. Not too long ago, it was identified as “spiritual bypass.” It can foster the attitude that we may plunder and destroy the great, nurturing ecosystem that gives us all this chance to incarnate and evolve. Or ignore it at least. How can that not matter? The traditional message—“live for the afterlife, this one’s a mess”—has turned out to be a deadly half truth. In our world, it’s one of the memes that has created the worst of the damage.
And What About Families?
But more recently, into the awareness of many healers anyway, has come another kind of reversal. Not only must the transformational pilgrim be ultimately responsible to the Mother Earth and the rest of humanity, but even the “I”--the distinct, individual seeker--is a kind of reductionist fantasy. That lone “I” is far more bound up with collective families than we in the West have tended to think.
So what does that mean for getting and staying well?
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