Mother Nature had a bone to pick with the Midwest on an otherwise ordinary summer morning.
I’m not sure who jerked her chain, but in response, she unleashed a furious fifteen minutes of temper tantrum on the northern part of Illinois. Hurricane level winds, lightning and thunder, and torrential rain left huge trees torn from the ground and tossed them all over roads, homes, and cars like tiny twigs. Power was out across the state and, hundreds of thousands of people were out of power for over a week.
Ice and candles were at a premium. There were long lines at fast-food drive-throughs. Food rotted in over-heated refrigerators. Those of us who were lucky enough to get our power restored early ran hotels for the stranded and unlucky.
The storm’s aftermath brought back memories of camping in tents and surviving in the wilderness of our family vacations growing up. I quickly formed a plan for how to make dinner in the backyard and how to maneuver the family through the challenge of no power.
It took my younger kids a little longer to warm up to the idea of living without electricity. They were used to the day-to-day reliance on computers and TV to guide them through their summer days.
“How did people ever do this…” was the whine I heard for several hours the first day. “This is barbaric….A person can’t function without power. There is nothing to do…”
Why…yes, we actually can, and did, for several hundred years. Hard to imagine. But very, very true. The earliest homes with electricity were only at the turn of the 1900’s and some of the way out in the boonies farms and poor folk didn’t get on board until almost the 1950’s. We are barely scraping over a century of what was once considered to be a passing fancy of the very rich.
Yet, a week without electricity and it was almost a state disaster. And for the kids, a few hours was simply unthinkable.
It got my brain to thinking.
On the first electricity-free morning, I sat quietly in the silence and absorbed the peace and safety of us all being okay. I let go of the panic that flooded my brain, shouting hysterically in my head that I wouldn’t be able to work, eat, function, talk to clients, or GOD FORBID…GET ON FACEBOOK!!! …and I just took a few deep breaths.
Then, I took a few more.
Then as the shock of destruction began to subside, I gathered up my family, said a prayer of thanks that we were all okay and comforted my trembling dogs.
It took about that long for the creative intuition to begin to stir and whisper survival tips inside my head. For every challenge that presented itself, my mind shifted from its normal response and created a new solution. As long as I could stay calm, open to new ideas and possibilities, I could imagine creative ideas and ways to solve the tricky hurdles that needed to be overcome.
“Where there is a will, there is a way.”
I must have muttered the well-worn cliche to my kids several times that day. I said it because I believe with all my heart that it is the truth.
When we need a solution, the answer lies within us, if we are willing to get quiet, listen and trust. Our intuition is always there, ready to help, ready to guide and lead the way.
I suspect our modern conveniences have allowed us to rely less on our own intuition and skill and more on the mindless motions of our day-to-day tasks. Often, we don’t have to engage any thinking or intuition at all to get us through our day. Technology has filled in all of the gaps.
After Mother Nature’s temper tantrum, I’m more aware of how much of a danger this can be. I am not going to tell you that I enjoyed or welcomed the disaster that happened to our community. Yet, there was something about having to be very present, very in the moment, using our intuition, problem-solving skills and creativity just to manage what would have been the normal day-to-day tasks that kept the days exhilarating, challenging and adventurous. We found creative ways to occupy time that otherwise would have been absorbed on Social Media.
The girls even got out oil paints and painted beautiful paintings, experimenting with the medium for the first time ever. And I faced the challenge of making a family dinner without an indoor stove, get my work done, and manage a household of bored, internet-less children.
But only after I took the time to get quiet and work out all the details in my mind first instead of panicking and complaining. Only after I figured out how to harness my intuition instead of working against it.
I had to:
- Let go of my expectations and go with the flow of the day, leaving my controlling ego at the door.
- Allow my creative spirit to suggest new ways to get things done instead of relying on my daily routine.
- Stay positive and grateful, focusing on what could work, instead of complaining about what didn’t.
- Trust in my first impressions and not second guess the instincts of my mind.
- Listen to my inner spirit and allow it to guide me.
- Relax and get quiet, so that I could hear the wisdom of my spirit.
The lights came on at the end of a long and challenging day. A day I called the Pioneer Experiment, or- getting back to basics. It was a good reminder. And I am grateful that for us, it was only one day and that we had the resources to help out others in need. But the lesson of the day will last longer than twenty-four hours.
By being more present and listening to our inner spirit, we can find new, interesting and creative ways to do the same old day-to-day tasks of life, and perhaps even find some new and interesting things to add to our lives as well.
It’s good to shake things up every once in awhile. Don’t wait for a hurricane wind to do it for you.