It can’t happen here. But when it does…. 5 ways to find the silver lining in natural disasters

Silver LiningThere’s a saying that everyone knows they’re going to die, but no one believes it.  The same is true of natural disasters – everyone knows it could happen in their town, but no one believes it will.

And then it does.  And the big question will be:  were you prepared?

This is not the post I had planned for this week.  I was going to write about “Earthing” – the healing benefits of standing barefoot on Mother Earth.

But this week, my life got interrupted by a natural disaster, and I felt there would be more benefit in a post on the unexpected lessons that occur when Mother Earth seems [emphasis on the word “seems”] to turn against us.

My silver lining story

Last Monday I returned home from a 5-day trip to discover that my basement had flooded due to an unusually heavy rainfall in my area.  In fact, record setting rain and flooding in the Midwest was all over the news.

By the time I got home the water had receded, but the evidence of destruction was everywhere.  Boxes had floated around the basement and their contents were soaked.  Some Christmas ornaments actually dissolved in the water!

I did not for one minute feel sorry for myself; my losses were miniscule compared to what many people go through in natural disasters.

It was a labor-intensive effort pulling everything out of the basement to dry and setting up a de-humidifier and fans to get the moisture out.

Many items were ruined beyond repair, but I actually saw it as a blessing in disguise because I got to sort through all the boxes that had been in my basement and decide what to keep, what to toss, what to give away.

I should have done that a long time ago.  Paring down always lightens our spirits.

Now I get to repack everything in waterproof bins, and put them on shelves, so that if groundwater ever seeps into my basement again, everything is more likely to stay dry.

Finding the silver lining in a changing world

Science shows us that disasters such as drought, tsunamis, hurricanes, typhoons and floods have been increasing over the past 25 years.  And indications are they will continue to increase.

So it’s a whole new world out there, and we need to start thinking proactively.  Here are some tips for how to get along with increased weather activity:

1.  Know the weather potential of the place where you live:

  • What is the land and the climate like?
  • What is likely to happen?
  • Do you live in a potential flood zone, or is an earthquake more likely?
  • Are you prepared if it does?
  • Know what the recommendations are for being prepared and follow them.  There’s a lot of wonderful material on the internet for disaster preparedness so I won’t duplicate it here. 

2.  Look for the spiritual lessons.  Mother Earth is speaking to us.  What is she saying?

All my research indicates that global warming is real and bringing changes to our climate.  In other words, get used to more dramatic weather and the inconvenience it brings.

What are the individual things you can be doing to help Mother Earth and lessen your impact?

As a race, humans have been wasteful and neglectful.  Perhaps it’s time to start mending our ways:

  • Be passionate about recycling and minimizing your environmental impact on the earth.
  • Start a vegetable garden.
  • Stop buying single use water bottles; buy one reusable water bottle and keep refilling it.
  • Speak up against corporate greed that pollutes and laws that fail to protect the land.  Write your congressperson and senators.  It’s never been easier with the advent of online petitions and email.
  • It’s not my place to tell everyone to buy a hybrid car, but why aren’t all cars hybrids? 

Pay more attention to the earth and what is happening on her and to her.

3.  Be a helper.  After the bombings at the Boston Marathon, Facebook was full of this wonderful quote by Mr. Rogers:  

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would always say, ‘Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.”

When I needed to empty and clean my basement, friends and neighbors helped me, and it made a huge difference.  Without that help it would have taken me three times as long and I would have been six times as tired.

Helpers are what makes the world go round in a better way.

4.  Give thanks for the opportunity to clean out, regroup and start over.   Years ago after I went through a life-changing disaster, a friend gave me a card that said:

“Now that my barn has burned down, I can see the stars.” 

I framed it and still have it on my wall as a reminder that there are no endings; only new beginnings.  Always look for the silver lining in any seeming disaster.

Clean out and give away on a regular basis.  I’m happy to say that what was in my basement was seasonal:  Christmas decorations and summer furniture.

For anything else, ask yourself if you really need it.  If you’re not using it on a regular basis, why keep it in storage?  Let someone else benefit.

5.  Make peace with losing material objects.  Losing things that were family heirlooms was sad because I cherish those things that my ancestors used and loved.  

But my connection to my ancestors is just as strong because the love is still there.

Things can be replaced.  Memories and love are forever.

I love to go camping, and I do it in style.  I have a big tent, comfy sleeping bag and mattress, and bring gourmet meals.  In fact, I have everything I need to be comfortable.  And I invariably ask myself this question during every camping trip:  What’s all that stuff back in my house?

Most of what’s in my house is convenient, but isn’t necessary.

Make it a goal to live with less.  Health and safety, and respect for Mother Earth, should be our number one priorities.

And that is what life in balance is about.

Molly Larkin

Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller "The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman”  and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 10 comments