I left Florida long before Irma became news. Thanks to a group of friends, I was able to wrap up my house preparations ahead of the unknown from a distance. While Irma was taking its time, having its rather significant manifestation of own anger and frustration, I had a premonition which I entrusted. I enveloped myself in “everything will be just all right” chant when I came back. This was truly all I could do. This also allowed me to remove myself from the participation in the unfolding events I had zero control over — neither as a contributor nor an observer.
I briefly considered going through some options on how to influence the situation — none of them really productive or useful — one of them being to allow the news feeds to come at me from all the possible directions only to make me feel desperate, hysterical and powerless; to become disoriented in the search for the next logical step. No. Thanks but no, thanks. I opted out and stayed away from the media frenzy. I refused to participate in the media spinoff ahead of developing stories that nobody could truly forecast. By joining the speculation and gambling with the Mother Nature, I would get entangled in the game I could not possibly win because somebody’s victory would be someone else’s loss. And at the end, outcomes typically happen to be what they happen to be, regardless of multitude and intensity of our worry.
I’ve survived the hurricane without turning on TV once. Also endured not knowing what the news channels were proclaiming while creating own stories to fuel a rage and despair amongst those of us glued to the TV screens till the power outage would do us part.
There is a difference between creating a sense of urgency and importance by making people simply aware of potential likelihoods and making them petrified and agonizing over “possibly” and “potentially” disastrous scenarios.
I wonder if “stay calm and get your stuff together” wouldn’t be a better advice?
I wonder if putting people first over commercializing real or potential tragedy would be a better investment of time and money?
I wonder if focusing on what we can do together when this is all over vs. self- serving the commercial interests of the media by brain-washing people with debilitating information, would not have been a better use of advertising resources?
I cannot help but wonder how many news heralds are in fact disappointed with the lesser extent of the disaster that they had originally “banked on”?
I was on the road for 29 straight hours driving back to my home in Florida. I left Canada on the Monday following the Irma touch-down the day before. I drove 4,000 miles overall along the east coast. I did not know what to expect based on inconsistent and confusing reports coming from various weather stations. According to many, I was going to drive straight into the eye of a still dangerous storm, risking my very own existence.
I was coming down only with some essentials I took with me on my trip, bringing back dry food, plenty of water and two canisters of fuel in case I got trapped in unforeseen circumstances. The drive itself — other than being extremely tiring — was uneventful and accompanied by patches of passing rain mostly during the night hours. Traffic was still light as many who fled where awaiting the horrifying news before hitting the road home. Had I believed in the reports that were being broadcasted, I would have probably still remained in Canada, by now getting ready for winter.
Upon my return I found my house intact and unscathed. The “village by the sea” felt different. It was quiet and more deserted. As fear was lifting, trees were piling up. Dry leaves were dancing in the swirls of the dying wind. And people were emerging back with their complaints returning also. As the disbelief was mixing with relief, the unchanged human nature was raising above the bushes. And although we had been spared big time, again, and most of us were only left with the inconvenience of heat and the burden of a major cleanup, people could not help but to continue their usual rituals and mantras ……and I wonder what does it actually take to be appreciative and grateful? To notice miracles in all the happenstances. To welcome with joy the tasks of cleaning dirt up? To appreciate a chilled touch of air when AC kicks back up by taking a break from the whining about how “it is unacceptable in modern society where the electricity and communication, including internet access and cable TV, are the essentials” while writing a petition for hurricane-proof infrastructure.
Let me share with you what I think it is unacceptable in modern society — poverty and inequality, racism, bigotry and discrimination. Hunger, thirst, limited access to education and healthcare. The fact that one of the islands become totally inhabitable after 300 years due to hurricane damage. Three months of maternity leave and no affordable childcare all seem intolerable to me with their long-term consequences of interrupted bonding and attachment-building patterns among people. The lack of common sense and compassion, ignorance, inauthenticity, that what is unacceptable yet — strangely — highly tolerated.
And if you want to communicate — simply make an eye contact and use your mouth to talk to the person next to you or a stranger on the street.
There is a difference between essential and nonessential. The devil is in the detail. There is a difference between being collectively conscious and shortsightedly focused on self.
Everything that we take for granted — all that surrounds us by making our life seemingly easier, more comfortable, and pleasant — it is a privilege not our right. It was given to us so we could appreciate it not to demand it, share it and not to withhold it.
Let’s then not forget:
It is a privilege to be alive.
It is a privilege to have electricity back within days or weeks.
It is a privilege to have running water.
It is a privilege to have food to cook a family meal.
It is a privilege……..
What will we then whine about once the aftermath of Irma or Harvey has dissipated, when others stop tweeting nonsense and vanish from our radar, the taxes get lowered than we had anticipated and our boss discontinues to annoy us?
* This article was not meant to offend anyone who has suffered loss and misfortune during recent events. It is written in order to bring awareness to all those trapped and/or lost in unimportance and triviality of the day- to- day existence.
Kasia Jamroz is the Founder of Alyka Solutions L.L.C, Leadership Coach, Personal Transformation Advocate, Global Citizen, Traveler, Himalayan Climber. To follow her story visit her Tale of Transformation blog.
Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com