When The Lights Go Out
Well, today is the day after of getting my electricity turned back on. 10 days of no heat, no food (it all went bad and had to be tossed in the garbage) and no electricity.
I did not experience the worst of Hurricane Sandy. So many tragic stories along the New Jersey Coast of what others who live there experienced. My heart goes out to them ….
But for me, it became an incredibly reflective experience on survival, life, and my/our dependency on “things”, technology, etc. – even thinking about how women prepare for childbirth …
I am still shaken by the experience yet grateful for my ability to learn from it and apply it to how I view my world now and how I’ll behave in it moving forward..
My first lesson was a slap in the face.
When the lights go out, when there’s no electrical power, all your priorities change to a rapid shift of survival thinking and actions. We were lucky to have a “wind-up” radio to stay informed about what was happening and the status of power restoration. We also had a fireplace …. but no wood to burn.
We went to Target and Stop’n Shop to buy canned food and what ever was available. So did hundreds of others. The stores were dark and you needed flashlights to read the food labels. Most shelves were empty.
The lesson: Be prepared for the unexpected
For you, a mom-to-be, be mentally prepared for the unknown as best you can. This means LEARNING what your choices are for childbirth and creating “back-up” plans. Life rarely goes the way you want it to, and when it does it’s usually something you didn’t expect at all
My husband, bless his heart, likes to be in control. He is blessed with a twinge of “me first, you later” attitude and he tends to blame others when things don’t go his way or go bad, like the storm. I usually let this roll off my back and ignore it and say “things will work out”.
But I realized that when things don’t go the way you want them to human beings tend to react emotionally and blame others for their misfortune. Looking at life from this perspective doesn’t change a thing and it’s unproductive. It only leads to more emotionally reactive behavior and thinking.
You might think this is crazy … but I am SO GRATEFUL I study and practice meditation. Those who incorporate some kind of mindful/calming behavior into their lives on a DAILY basis, meditation, etc., are better able to handle crisis situations than those that don’t. This is because you learn how to respond to an event rather than emotionally reacting to it
For you, a mom-to-be, most of your worries about your pregnancy and upcoming childbirth experience are self-induced. When you learn how to calm your mind, you decrease stress and respond differently to circumstance. You develop a better perspective of what’s really happening, what you can really control and what you can’t…
Because of my meditation training I was able to be the source of calm, I was able to stay calm and think clearly, I was able to counteract my husband’s negative approach to dealing with a life disruptive event, and my calming stance reduced stress in our home
The greatest lesson however is this: If I lost everything, my home, the internet, my cell phone, continued to have NO access to any technology, I would survive because that’s what human beings do. We are strong and resourceful. We are also social and crave connections with others. Yet, we each experience our lives differently and independent from others. What I experience is different from what you experience, yet we all ( on the NJ East Coast) experienced a severe, devastating, storm.
But the most precious gift I experienced was the connection with my husband and son. For 10 days we had to actually TALK to each other. We cuddled together to stay warm. There were no distractions – TV, cell phones, Xbox games, Internet, nothing. We had each other and had to experience this together. Because there were no external distractions we were able to cope and respond better, together through this scary, destructive event.
So. For you, mom-to-be, I am going to make a suggestion and it’s this: Stop focusing on information about pregnancy and childbirth on the internet. Turn off your cell phone and only use it when you need it. Avoid becoming dependent on technology and become more attentive to what really matters – your husband/partner, and your pregnancy and knowing that all will be okay. Learn how to meditate so you can put your own self-made worries in perspective. Life is all about what’s in front of you, not what passes through wifi or what you can plug in to an electrical outlet..
I would love to hear what you think about this. Write your comment below, and thanks!