The Gathering Storm by Robin Trimingham
It is nightfall here in Bermuda and I am sitting down to write this blog post as a hurricane gathers strength somewhere to the south of us. By all reports it will pass by the island sometime tomorrow night with winds somewhere between 60 and 100 miles per hour (depending who you ask what the latest emergency weather update predicts).
There is a great long list of things to be done whenever a hurricane gets within about 400 miles of the island – windows to board up, supplies to purchase, garden furniture to store, and bath tubs to fill with water in case the power fails for an extended amount of time. Longtime readers of this blog will recall that the island experienced a direct hit from a severe storm exactly two years ago to the day, giving me a three week glimpse into daily life in the rural 1800’s (no lights, water, hot food or air conditioning for the duration).
The mathematical odds of a storm of equal magnitude hitting the island again exactly two years to the day would seem to be within the realm of being struck by lightening twice in one lifetime, but that is what it seems is going to happen. Oh, did I mention that tomorrow also happens to be my birthday?
Yup. The universe has a cruel sense of humor to be sure. Who else on this planet gets their own personal hurricane as a birthday gift twice ??? And for the record “mom”, I am not amused!
Well, ok, maybe just a little; because there really isn’t anything else I can do besides try to see the humor in the situation.
Moments like this make me realize that there are some things in life that really are beyond our control, and worrying about them does nothing other than raise your cortisol levels.
The thing that does baffle me, however, is why on earth the temptation to worry about things that are beyond our control does seem to increase as we age. It would seem that being older and wiser, the opposite should be the case. But that is not my experience — my grandmother who was a cultured and educated lady reminded terrified of thunder her entire life even when she was indoors — my friend who was prone to nightmares was afraid of going to sleep no matter where he was — and I remain terrified of snakes even though they do not exist on my island.
According to Eckhart Tolle, these are just illusions that we perpetuate to entertain ourselves, or enable ourselves to continue to experience suffering instead of opening ourselves up to receiving joy. Whatever the reason, the dog and I have decided to make more effort to find amusement in the obstacles that life throws in our path. We may not be able to stop them from stomping about in the flowerbed, but we don’t have to cancel the garden party every time it threatens to rain.
By Robin Trimingham