Savoring in the Face of Disaster

I am privileged to create a home on the web for an extraordinary mix of about 400 super-duper smart, compassionate, engaged, insightful women, a number of whom live in the South, where tornadoes ripped lives apart last week.

Nay Nay is one of those amazing women. She lives in Alabama. She volunteers as a set designer for her local children’s theater after work and on the weekends. She checked in with us yesterday.  Her home and business have been out of power since the storm.

We ‘made lemonade’ and went to the beach. It our first extended family ‘vacation’ (someone termed it an evacu-cation!) since my brother and I were children. I remember long discussions here at the Cafe about visiting family during holidays – how hard it can be – so I was anxious to see how this evacu-cation would go.

I am happy to report that we had a great time! It was very meaningful for us to be together. We piled 8 people in a cottage that slept 6. Funny how perspective helps, being squeezed into a cottage at the beach doesn’t seem so bad considering! We returned home yesterday our personal power restored from the resting and relaxing.

I am still processing all that has happened. I have some survivor guilt. The savoring and serving that we are studying here really helped me. I believe that what I need to do to serve in this situation will become apparent. So far, the most important thing for me is the play I’m committed to. Part of me says, “That sounds so shallow!” yet deep down, I know I’m serving from my strengths. Hopefully, people will feel nourished by an evening of entertainment. The play is a comedy and I know laughter is powerful medicine.

Nay Nay, thank you. I learned so much from what you shared, like:

Allowing yourself to rest and be filled up

versus indulging in “Who I am to be safe when others are homeless and grieving?” and not allowing the beauty of what is here to heal you

Practicing honest gratitude

versus forcing yourself to like being with your family (and it’s so great you did – bonus!)

Serving from your strengths

versus rushing out to do what you think you should do

Questioning the mean voices that say, “You are shallow”

versus letting them run the show (Mean voices are never helpful in their undiluted state. Be in dialogue but never to be ruled by their fears.)

Grounding yourself in what you know (which means you’ve been taking care of yourself and have skills to draw on)

versus flying into freak out, drama and hand-wringing

These are good ground rules to remember.

What do you do in the face of disruption and tragedy – locally? Internationally? Let’s start building strategies that are humane, self-loving and sustainable, together.

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Christine Ashworth - May 5, 2011

Jennifer,

I wish you would begin to communicate over Twitter. I’m there a lot and I miss you. On a daily basis, 140 characters could mean the world to a bunch of folks. Please think about it…and remember me when you do.

You can find me at @CCAshworth

You’ve grown so much. I can’t believe you’re not taking Twitter into account. If you are, I haven’t found you there yet. What are you waiting for?

Love and hugs,

Christine

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Nina Miranda - May 5, 2011

I was recently let go from a job that consumed my life. It is not an unusual occurrence in today’s market; however, I found myself thinking sadly that I was tired, worn out, and used up. I cried a little. And then I thought about all the savor and serve projects I found myself investing in – launching a volunteer organization to provide free after-school activities for kids in the neighborhood, starting an organic garden for the first time, feeding a stray cat that likes the sun on my porch, creating bulletin boards for primary school kids at church, finding a groupon for a ‘paint and sip’ evening, and more just because there is a need to give of myself. My basic needs are met and I’m finding little jewels along the way. I have much to be grateful for.

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    jenniferlouden - May 5, 2011

    Nina, what a gorgeous reframe and how much you are savoring and how you are serving! My gosh, girl, I am amazed and heartened and inspired. Thank you for taking the time to write this here!

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Susan Gallacher-Turner - May 5, 2011

Such wisdom here…Nay, Nay, you may not feel like it but you are a hero here. You faced your fears, you found your center and a way to give and support yourself and those around you in a way that’s needed and healing.

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    jenniferlouden - May 5, 2011

    yes Susan beautifully said!

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    Nay Nay - May 23, 2011

     Susan, thank you! I’m resurfacing since the play just finished up, and I so appreciate your comment. Love, Nay Nay

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Tamarisk - May 10, 2011

What a beautiful post. A saying I like to remind myself of is – “when life hands you lemons, go back and ask for the tequila and salt”. It always makes me smile and pretty soon I’m on the road to laughing again. And as we know, no two things can occupy the same space at the same time so my laughter chases out the negative and ungrateful thoughts.

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