Stormy Weather

It’s 5:30 a.m. Too early for me to be up.  I have a cough and a stomach ache. The cough I’ve had for the past six weeks. The stomach ache is something new.

It’s dark outside. I’m nervous about the upcoming storm. I’ve got a few more hours before it hits.

I live in an all electric building. If the power goes out that means no heat. No way to cook. No Wi fi. Thus, no phone, computer, iPad or TV. And of course, no lights.

I bought a lantern and eight batteries. Something I’ve meant to do for years. It’s supposed to light up an entire room. I feel good about it. But not that good, since I can’t figure out how to get the batteries to fit.

My worst storm was when I lived in Vermont. We had a micro blast. A what?  I’d never heard of one either. It swept up Tweed River Drive and mowed down everything in its way. If you lived on the right side of the road you were safe. The left, you were in trouble. The power lines came down. Fires broke out. Part of my roof lifted up and flew away. It sounded like a train coming through. I was in  shock. No time to feel scared.

When it hit, I was on the toilet. I sat there hoping to wake up from what seemed like a dream. It took a few seconds for me to get that it was real. In five minutes it was over. I went outside to see the damage. It looked like a monster-mower came through, giving the wild flowers and grasses a flat-top. I went up the hill to check on my friend’s house. His rocking chair sat, still as stone on his deck. It hadn’t moved an inch. He, of course, lived on the right side of the road.

I don’t expect this  blizstorm to be that dramatic, but who knows? They’re saying its the worst Washington blizzard in 95 years. But, perhaps we’ll get lucky. It could shift out to sea before it gets here. We could have sun, with mild temperatures, and balmy breezes instead. I’d like that. I’d also like to believe there’s no global warming. I’m trying to think how I can get that to happen. So far nothing . .. But I’m not giving up. As Rebbe Nachman tells us:

“Never despair. Never. It’s forbidden to give up hope.”

Here’s an image to use at troubled times like this. Far more useful than flpping out.

 The Color RX

Close your eyes and breathe out three times. See and know the color of your anxiety.Sit in the middle of this anxiety without complaining and breathe out this color, seeing  it drift away, vanishing into thin air. Now imagine the color of calm. Sit in the middle of the calm and breathe in this color. See, sense and feel the color of calm filling you and spreading through your entire body, flowing like a river. When it reaches your fingertips and toes feel it encircle and enfold you. Know and live how it is to be clear and relaxed. Look at the world around you now, through calm eyes, and know that all is well

 

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Smoke Screen

Last week, a train stopped dead, 800 feet outside the L’enfant Plaza Metro station in DC. As passengers dealt with the darkness and the conductor’s conflicting narratives, smoke began filling the cars. They were told to get down low. To stay where they were. Not to open the doors, or to get out of the train. Some panicked. Some lost consciousness. Some prayed and tried to comfort each other. Some closed their eyes and remained calm. Eighty-four wound up at area hospitals. One woman died. And two people chose not to obey orders.

Just Following Orders

I’ve always been, unnerved by machines that stop, get stuck, go dark. Whether they be elevators, cars, trains, whatever. I’ve been tested and have failed miserably several times. I don’t quite panic, but I don’t stay calm. Yet there’s one thing I know for certain: my fear of being locked in and my terror of not being able to breathe, trump my fear of the dark and the unknown. As for following orders, I stopped doing that by the time was six.

Had I been unfortunate enough to be on this train,  I would have stuck with the former navy guy who labeled it “a situation,” then opened the doors, and offered to lead people out. Yes, there was the third rail to worry about, but if you’ve ever found yourself unable to breathe you get the picture. There were several who followed this man, as he walked away from the smoke toward the light. But by the time he got to the grating that led to the street there was only one person behind him. The others had all turned back.  

Become Your Own Authority

The voices of authority are easily enamored of themselves. They love to give orders. They tell you what to do and how to do it. As Rudy Giuliani walked the streets of New York after 9/11, taking up his role as “Leader” of the city’s millions of terrified pehple, he neglected to disclose that he’d approved the decision to put the emergency command center on the 23rd floor of the World Trade Center. It must have slipped his mind.

Dan Baumbach, a software engineer from Merrick, was stunned to find that building officials in One World Trade Center were telling workers not to evacuate, even after the first jet struck. “You can try it, but it’s at your own risk,” he quoted one official as warning a hundred people on the 75th floor. Many went with his advice; Baumbach continued his descent and survived.

“The reason we got out,” Brumbach said,  ”was because we didn’t listen.

Imagine yourself on a smoke filled train, or in a high rise that has just been hit by a jet. Imagine how you’d feel. Imagine what you would do. How about choosing to Become your own authority.To listen to your first voice. For me, that’s the voice that says: What are you waiting for? Take your chances. Do it! Go. Get out! 

Yes. It’s that simple. There are no guarantees. No one knows any better than you do what may happen.So don’t analyze your choices. Just make them and move on.

Here’s an image to empower you to do this:  

Choose You Can’t Lose

 This is best done by having someone read it to you. Make your choices quickly. And go from the gut.

Close your eyes, breathe out and Choose:

 

Left or Right.

Day or Night.

Dark or Light.

Fast or Slow.

High or Low.

Yes or No.

Stay or Go.

 

 

 

 

Playing Politics: And Being Very Afraid

Twenty years ago in the film,”The American President,”  Andrew Shepherd  made a speech that described the opposition as being interested in just two things: “Making you afraid, and telling you who to blame.”

Twenty years later,.the fear and blame strategy continues to dominate right wing politics. And the speech made by the fictive President Andrew Shepherd, written by the prescient Aaron Sorkin, and played by the too charming Michael Douglas, might well be given today by our current president, the besieged Barack Obama.

Be Afraid, Be very afraid!

Right now we’re being told to be afraid. Very afraid: Of Ebola, of Isil, of the Affordable Care Act, of a higher Minimum Wage, of Leaky borders, and of the “Fake Science” of Climate Change. Above all, we’re told to blame our twice elected president (whose birth certificate is still being contested  by the reality challenged Donald Trump), for all of it.

Yesterday I saw a You Tube clip of Bill Clinton being interviewed by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, several years after he left office.  Clinton spoke, adamantly about his pursuit of Osama bin Laden.He left no space, not a second’s worth for Wallace to comment or ask a question.  He said that although he had failed, he had not given up as had his predecessor. Soon after that “failure” and a sexual scandal that had the hounds at his heels for over a year, the public forgave and forgot, at least mostly. Like Monica, we found him irresistible. And Clinton’s popularity soared.

Clinton Failed and Gained, While Obama Succeeded and Lost

But where Clinton failed and gained, Obama succeeded and lost. He got bin Laden and passed comprehensive health care reform, without a whiff of personal scandal. Yes, they screamed Benghazi., Benghazi , Benghazi. But it barely crossed the blood/brain barrier before it frittered away into the ether. Today his success is rarely mentioned. By anyone. Hardly ever!  If McCain had won and had done the same, we would all be wearing little McCain lapel pins with bin Ladin’s head stamped on them.

We live in a young and naive country. We overlook our errors and hype our successes. Our need for comfort trumps our desire for knowledge and truth. We’ve never lived with the reality of that knock at the door that threatens destruction of ourselves and our world.  

That’s How you Win!

There is no outside solution to this dilemma. The dilemma starts and ends with us. Not the president. The Right is right about this one: it begins with being afraid and ends with blaming others.

As Mr. Sorkin informs us in his film, ”That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.”

I’ve included the You Tube clip from  “The American President. I found it worth watching. Perhaps you may as well.