Emergencies bring us into the present moment like nothing else. They need rapid response, and sometimes we don't have time to think about our choices, we just react. Natural disasters, accidents, and crisis situations teach us about our resiliency, our courage, our fears, and what really is important to us. Fleeing from an oncoming wildfire or hurricane forces us to make quick choices about what we take with us. The aftermath of traumatic injury gives us time to reflect on where we are in our life and where we want to go from where we are, and there are choices to be made that determine how well we cope. Often these events are life changing on multiple levels, and the ability to see jewels in the midst of debris is a determining factor in the long term impact of the experience. Choosing to take responsibility for yourself and to find gratitude wherever you can are productive choices that can ease the trauma of loss.
Learning to let go, whether it is of material possessions, persons, or beliefs, is perhaps one of the hardest lessons in being human.
Asking for help (and actually allowing others to help) is for some of us a huge challenge. Dealing with the emotional roller coaster that accompanies loss provides opportunity to learn to deal with our feelings in new ways, while making time to practice gratitude and mindfulness during the recovery process helps us develop positive patterns of self care. Deciding to take responsibility to create what we want from what is available rather than falling into the passive role of victim improves both physical healing from injury and mental well being.
Values clarification is an ongoing fluid process where we sift through the interplay of importance versus urgency, and learn to make choices that best serve us rather than relying solely on what is familiar. Emergencies can propel us into a higher level of fast learning, often without warning. Keep an open mind, an open heart, and ask for help when you need it. Remember to breathe and pay special attention to the exhale, the letting go of the breath.