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Rev. Sandra Schubert

Be Still: In the Eye of the Storm
by Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert

Things are just not going well.  The tension has mounted to such an extreme you think you cannot go.  Then, just for an instant you feel it.  The buzzing in your head stops and the world itself seems to stop spinning.  A deep silence envelopes you, a stillness.

Be still, be still. Be still.

Hurricane hunters break through a wall of clouds that are the most dangerous and closest to the center of the storm.  The hunters enter into the eye of the hurricane.  There they can track the pressure and intensity of the storm.  The eye is not necessarily a safe place danger is all around.  But for the moment an assessment can be made.  Each season we count and name hurricanes.  They seem to develop their own characteristics defining them as personalities and not just storms.

Just like the hurricane hunters we must break through the chaos of our lives to the center of our being.  Each crisis can take on a life and personality and like a hurricane we name and categorize an event that was important to us.  At family gatherings a relative refers to “the pencil incident,” and we knowingly shake our heads and maybe shudder a little recalling a disastrous time in our family history.  Each named event recalls not just the memory of the incident but the after effects as well.  What did we learn about ourselves?  What did we learn about each other?  Is this a crisis we can avoid in the future?  Have we learned how to better deal with this type of situation when it comes around again?

A crisis can make us take stock and is a catalyst for some kind of change. The trick is not to have a big event become the only catalyst. Build a solid foundation to create change, growth and momentum in your daily life.  The survivors after a disaster report becoming aware of what is really important to them.  It is not the things; it is the relationships that were lost or may have been lost that are important.

A crisis has a life. We are overwhelmed.  We aren’t only affected by immediate problems but the daily news greets us with an overload of disaster, war, famine and destruction.  It is hard not feel a bit of tension in just living in a world that seems filled with strife. To be still does not mean you are without issues and problems.  It is how we manage theses problems that will make a difference.

In the center of a storm there is calm.  But how do we get to a place of stillness?

Ten small steps to stillness:

  1. Take time to breathe
  2. Take a crisis break
  3. Walk
  4. Watch a funny movie
  5. Create art
  6. Keep a journal
  7. Keep the counsel of a trusted friend or advisor
  8. Choose the high road
  9. Practice gratefulness
  10. Remember who and what is important

There are people who have an aura of calmness that surrounds them.  There can be utter chaos and they emerge cool, calm and in control.  Why is that?  Ask that calm person and you may find they will take the situation seriously they don’t take them selves seriously.  They don’t take things personally.  They are removed but not detached from an event.  What can we learn from them?

First remember to breathe.  Shallow, fast breathing common in stressful situations produces an anxiety related feeling.  Taking slow and deep breaths will calm you down and allow you to think more clearly.

Remove yourself and take a crisis break by going for a walk.  I have combined two steps here but each is valuable.  Taking time away from any situation can give you perspective.  Physical activity will de-stress and invigorate you and it really can clear your head.

A humor break goes a long way to breaking tension and giving you a pleasant diversion.  Sharing a funny movie with friends and family is even better.

At a recent workshop on creativity and the soul we engaged in some dancing, writing and drawing.  Each had its benefits.  No matter your talent or expertise creating art is a wonderful way to get out of your head and back into body.

If you don’t have the counsel of a trusted friend to bounce things off then journal writing is an effective to work things out in a safe way.  It also helps as a guide for looking at past mistakes and successes using what you learned to help you in the future.  James W. Pennebaker, Professor of Psychology, at The University of Texas at Austin says this, "Standing back and exploring your thoughts and feelings about your major life experiences can have profound effects on your physical and mental health. An impressive body of research finds that when people write about traumas, negative or positive turning points in their lives, or simply write about their life stories, they derive great benefits."

Choose the high road.  Revenge thinking can help in working out some anger issues but acting on them will not.  Take care to leave the backstabbing and malicious gossip to soap operas and talk shows.  An act of revenge can feel good at the moment but it is a soul killer and not something you want to engage in.  Instead remember what is good in your life.  Consider how wonderful a place this planet.  Remember what is important in life; friends, family, work that satisfies you and giving back to the world.

Be still.  You can fly through the center of the storm to asses the damage or you can just get out of the way entirely.  Either way, take a moment to reflect, to breathe and to laugh.  No matter what is going on in your life – you can always stand in the center of the stillness and beauty of the world.

© Copyright 2005 Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert.  All Rights Reserved. 

Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert
Rev. Sandra Lee Schubert is an interfaith minister, writer and founder of Wild Woman Ministries and Wild Woman Network a forum to explore and express creativity and spirituality. As a minister and coach, Rev. Schubert helps people discover and unlock their creative potential -- through creating art, producing classes and workshops or just pursuing a life long goal -- and is committed to assisting people in fulfilling their dreams. She also leads workshops and facilitates a popular writing program called the Wild Angels at the historic Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  Her subscription e-course - Writing for Life: Creating a Story of Your Own, is available: http://www.selfhealingexpressions.com/courses.shtml Email:  wwn@wildwomannetwork.com, or visit www.wildwomanministries.org.  212-642-5042




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