As Hurricane Sandy approaches, I have also been weathering an internal storm. Like the winds outside, thoughts and emotions have felt blustery and threatening.
While Sandy’s predictions escalated early yesterday, I worried about my own safety and shelter. Quickly my anxiety extended to those with inadequate or no housing. The bearded man who pushes a shopping cart with 4 young kittens in tow. The woman who reads on the steps of The Church of St. John on First Avenue, surrounded by her belongings. The young man for whom I have bought food in the past, but whom I hurried by with my bag of groceries yesterday.
In the afternoon, before Manhattan’s subways and buses were shut down, I attended one of the Rubin Museum’s Happy Talks with Aimee Mann and Neil Labute. During the talk I felt relieved to surrender to life’s messiness and to appreciate the softness beneath. But directly following that talk, a conflict between friends arose that wounded my ego. I felt I had been unjustly judged and reacted strongly, ranted about it, sought to feel better by cutting down those who judged me.
Finally last night I learned of the potentially serious medical condition of someone I care about deeply, someone I love more than myself. And at once I felt hysterical helplessness and deep shame for my self-centeredness, my need to stock an already full pantry, and my wounded pride.
As I stood in the kitchen and cried to my boyfriend I told him how much I wanted a drink. Just a little one, to release some of the tension that gripped me, body and mind. I knew I wouldn’t have it, but I need to say it out loud, to acknowledge it.
This morning, feelings of confusion, helplessness, panic, and anxiety continued as I watched news coverage of the storm and awaited updates from the hospital. Fortunately, this post from Susan Piver arrived with the following reminder: “When energies are at their most potent and frightening, there is a wonderful chance to open your heart to others.”
I practiced along with the video above and cried the whole time, but managed to stay with the intense feelings and extend my wish for all sentient beings to be safe. I invite you to do the same.