the calm before the storm

Waking up in the wee hours, still dark, and the silence is defeaning.  I realize I am waiting to hear the sound of the wind and the rain that is expected now, as predicted by the vigilant weather watchers of the past few days tracking the course of hurricane ‘Sandy’ as she moves in from the shores of New England.  I am remembering this time a year ago, when the silence was interrupted by the sounds of crack and tear of the dismemberment of tree branches letting go to the weight of unexpected snow and ice.  And how much trauma this caused for all of us, the trees and humans alike.  And now I am thinking about the effects of this trauma, of how the hypervigilance around this new impending storm has been created, not unlike the symptoms of post-traumatic stress I just spent a weekend learning about…

I am grateful for being able to participate in The Veterarn’s Yoga Project http://veteransyogaproject.org/ as a new yoga teacher.  What I have learned is simply profound and profoundly simple.  If we offer a safe, predictable context within which one can garner one’s own sense of control, then it is possible for persons challenged with PTSD to let go, if even for just a brief moment, and remember what it feels like to be calm and abiding in one’s own body.  And as a trained Embodyyoga teacher that honors how life force energy flows through the fluid systems in our physical bodies, I learn that teaching yoga to persons with PTSD cannot be about the concepts or the philosophy that takes for granted that we might already be ‘in’ our bodies, no, I am humbled to consider how just the simple act of taking a full breath into the lungs, of how being able to ‘rest’ for just a moment, cannot be taken for granted for a person who is on safety alert every second of their life, struggling to trust that the ‘calm’ before a storm does not mean the end of life as they know it.

The training ends early so the participants from Connecticut and New York and beyond can travel home safely to make storm preparations.  I now have an afternoon free to stack wood and move porch furniture.  As I work in silence, I notice the impending quiet, the dense gray sky, and the explosion of last color remaining on the trees, appreciating that it may all be gone by the end of tomorrow…

I am curiously calm about what might happen except when I allow myself to consider the effects of not having access to water.  Then the panic rises in me in a way that is shockingly unpleasant.  I lose all sense of perspective and hope in a moment.  A world without access to fresh water?  How in the world can we truly be nourished without water??  Feeling that even filling up the deep plastic tub full of water as a reserve ‘in case’ is futile, I could never ‘save’ enough water.  In my mind, life would be over!!  And then catch my self, take a deep breath, and let the fear wash through me…

As I reflect on this now, I feel the way our watery emotions of love and fear alike, move through our ‘fluid body’ and deliver life force to where it is meant to go.  It is like liquid gold medicine that is beyond value, and trumps all forms of currency as we currently know them.  In this human body, I simply cannot imagine a world without water.  So today, in this calm before the storm, I think of ways to honor this, in my yoga practice, in the soup I will prepare later, and perhaps even by collecting some of the anticipated abundant rainfall that will come, for a reverent and future use….

3 thoughts on “the calm before the storm

  1. Your ability Kathy to be ablebto maintain a sense of calmness and organization in the face of impending destruction shows strength and courage…………..know that we thinking of you in Australia.

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