back to the basics

Last week the hawaiian islands were in a storm scare. It is that time of year after all where tropical storms whip up in a frenzy of wind and rain, some turning into hurricanes, some becoming humid rich tropical storms that bring heat and rain and thunder. Being little islands in the middle of the sea we keep our eyes and ears open when storms are on the loose. In the same way we tell visitors to never turn your back on the ocean, we know all too well that you don't want to turn your back on mother nature.


Tropical storm Kilo was spinning around in the warmer waters south of us, where prime conditions to kick up hurricane intensity exist. A pretty active tropical depression Kilo was described as being disorganized and unpredictable likely to upgrade to hurricane strength. 

Disorganized and unpredictable. Let's just take a moment and consider those two words. Hurricanes aside, when you hear those words how do you feel? Disorganized points to chaos and unpredictable points erratic tendencies, no pattern that can be followed. When things in your world feel disorganized and unpredictable, how do you respond?

Despite being disorganized and unpredictable,  they were projecting the possibility that it would follow the same track Hurricane Iniki took in 1991. Iniki happened to be a category five hurricane that hit Kauai 20 years ago and pretty much knocked us out for two months. It was bad. I was twelve and I remember looking through the kitchen window watching the roofs of my neighborhood peel off like they were made of tin foil instead of corrugated tin. The after math left us powerless on a garden island stripped of green. 

Comparing unpredictable and disorganized Kilo to Iniki was like a double dose of concern. There were frenzied shoppers last week in storm prep mode buying food and water in massive quantities. Yards were being cleaned up of debris and recycling taken to the dump for reuse. A good surge of energy toward preparation was kicked up, making all of us more alert to what needs to be done to face a storm.

I of course couldn't help but think about our own human nature and how we proceed when we ourselves, or the circumstances of our life feel disorganized and unpredictable. This  really stuck with me because as I look at the world, as I work with my clients, as I feel into my own unfolding growth I can't help but recognize that the energy around us is, yes, you guessed it: disorganized and unpredictable. 

As such, in our desire for homeostasis we grasp to find balance or to feel some sense of control. Yet, this grasping often comes from our fear rather than our center. We fear  actually feeling our own inner chaos, our own disorder, our own emotional waves. So instead of fully feeling the confusion, chaos and all that gets stirred up with unpredictability we  get overwhelmed and shut down (freezing), or we get hyper vigilant tracking every detail, trying to figure out how to proceed, and possibly become (over) reactive in our struggle for control/safety/balance (fight), or we simply want to avoid it all together and run away from reality (flight). 

All of these responses are powerful survival mechanisms and support us in navigating difficulty, if we let the energy continue to move after the threat passes. Animals in the wild shake to release the intensity of energy in the system. We as humans get habituated to stressors which keep us in a low grade of trauma response never letting our systems fully rest back into base line. When we get habituated to this heightened trauma response we limit our potential to meet challenges.  

My experience through this storm tracking was one of curiosity. I could feel the frenetic energy around me, people concerned, people in high preparation mode. Being prepared is smart to be sure, you definitely don't want to turn your back on the power of the elements. But I kept feeling into the difference ways of taking action, attentive to the quality of energy behind the movements, and consciously choosing to move from presence (love) rather than frantic panic (fear). I found myself organically softening and simplifying in response to the pending storm. I found myself focused on the basics, having water and food, knowing the propane tank was full so my stove would work, having batteries and candles in case the power went out, my gas tank was full, and life goes on. Doing less felt like doing more. Knowing the basics felt like the foundation of what's essential.  

And maybe some would call me naive, or foolish, taking too casual an approach to a possible threat. But I have found that the closer I stay to my own center, the more I feel responsible for the very basics, the calmer I feel internally and the better able I am to respond, and thus the more likely I am to survive. This has proved to be true in actual storms delivered by mother nature as well as in storms of a more human design where emotions are high and intensity is hot. When I simplify and focus on on the most basic elements of survival I increase my chances of navigating through to the other side safely with my energetic field intact and my mindset in the right space. 

When things in life are unpredictable and disorganized come back to the basics. Simplifying is a powerful course of action. Simplifying calms the nervous system. When we  are internally calm we affect the field around us with that calm. The basics are the most fundamental pieces required to return you to center and your own ability to respond. In a storm thats water, food and batteries. In life that's your breath and your willingness to feel. Coming back to the basics is essential. Coming back to the basics is where survival lives. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on facing disorganization and unpredictability and what basic practices bring you back to center? Share in the comments below.