The Sun is Shining In Texas. Shining on all that Standing Water.

Harvey is done, the sun is out.  There are communities that are still under water like Wharton, and Beaumont.  

There are some that are starting the long process of rebuilding, ripping up baseboards and drywall.  (Pictures below) 

There are those still in shelters, unable to go home and unsure what will be there when they do.  (YMCA’s are open for showers, emergency child care, recharging cell phones, etc)

There are those that either through the force of the water, or through downed power lines and other hidden dangers, have not made it safely back into the sun with us.  There are those families with people still missing, waiting anxiously to hear if they’re alright.

Everyone with a pet they had to leave behind are also waiting for a way to rescue their pets or to check on them again.

In some unfortunate neighborhoods there was just street after street after street of total devastation.  It was hard to see and there are still lots of people in lots of communities that still need our help.  Even if it’s just coming by with food and water, and a chance to talk about what happened and what the next steps are.

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We are very fortunate not to have been affected directly or catastrophically by Harvey.  Yes the stores don’t have everything re-stocked, yes we have to drive around a bit to get gas and yes everything is cancelled and I’ve spent the last 5 days in my house with two babies AND a husband working from home.  (Not a small inconvenience but hardly a pebble to the mountain of being grateful everyone is alive and well and dry).

It was because of this recent national tragedy that allowed me to be receptive to an article in my DailyGood (News that Inspires) email newsletter I get once a month:

The article was…are you ready for it?  

Five Invitations:  What Death Can Teach About Living.  It was written by Frank Ostaseki, the co-founder of the Zen Hospice Project, a holistic residential care facility.

Now, normally I see the word ‘Death’ in the title and I swipe left.  No thanks.  But because of all the recent horror I was feeling in a mood to confront the darker side of life.  

In a nutshell, from thirty years of speaking and working with people at the very end of their lives, Frank has gleaned five ‘invitations’ to help us live a more full life.

They are:

Don’t Wait – it’s easy to recognize when you’re dying that every breath counts, every minute.  The truth is, death is always with us.  Every breath is precious whether you’re 18 or 88.

Welcome Everything: Push Away Nothing – Even a crisis can teach us valuable lessons that can enable us to live a deeper, more meaningful life.

Bring Your Whole Self to the Experience – Wholeness does not mean perfection, it means bringing your whole self, fears and anxieties and flaws to every experience.  It is only through acknowledging my own ‘crazy’ that I can connect and be empathetic with the ‘crazy’ of someone else who still needs help seeing them through the other side.  It is only when we are vulnerable that we can really connect to the people in our lives.

Find a Place of Rest in the Middle of things – I NEED TO HAVE THIS TATTOOED ON MY FOREHEAD!  We all think of rest as something to do ‘when we’re done’.  Done the ‘to do’ list, done putting the kids to bed.  Once we go on vacation.  But if we can remember to rest ‘in the middle’ we can learn to care for ourselves better and be happier.  If we can learn to cultivate a subtle quietness while going through the motions of our everyday mundane chores, this will help us live a more joyful life.

Cultivate “Don’t know” Mind – Being open and receptive has never steered me wrong, and has always allowed me to bring more love and compassion in.  Who wouldn’t want more of that!?  

To wrap up, we’re all going to be busy for a long time helping our neighbors and friends and family clean up, re-build, and get back on track.  We’re all going to be healing and trying to heal from the wounds this storm has left us with.  Some are deeper than others, but we all endured this storm together and we’ll only all get out of it together.

If you’re still not sure who needs help or where to go, just ask your network of friends.  It’s unlikely you don’t know someone at least peripherally affected by the storm who needs some help.

Stay strong Texas – we’re going to get through this.  (Together).

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