As I recently mentioned on social media, my hometown Yeppoon was hit by a category five cyclone at the end of February. Our home had some roof damage, we had many trees down, and we were without power and internet for a few days. My Dad was on full time chemotherapy for his brain cancer, and the stress of the cyclone combined with the intense heat whilst we didn’t have power, seemed to temporarily exacerbate some of his symptoms. It also wreaked havoc with my website plans and schedule. Even though we were one of the ‘lucky ones’, it was a stressful period.
Despite the havoc Cyclone Marcia caused, it also resulted in many good things. In a previous article I wrote for Tiny Buddha, I argued that traumatic times can sometimes also bring about beauty and wonder. I truly do try to look for positive lessons or opportunities for growth in bad situations. My experience with cyclone Marcia was no different.
Below I have shared some photos of our own home following the event – you will see that we were lucky compared to many others that you may have seen in the media. Most importantly, I have shared the lessons that I personally took away from this experience, that you might also be able to apply to your own life (without Mother Nature or some other slap from the universe rudely forcing you to learn them yourself).
Let go of resistance and fear
As cyclone Marcia was approaching, I wrote to my subscribers about fear, how it can sometimes hold you back from achieving your goals, and practical steps for how you can overcome it and continue to move toward your dreams. Shortly after writing the email about fear, the category five cyclone hit. She was ferocious and unknowingly did everything in her power to stop me from working. Mending the roof, chainsawing and removing fallen trees, eating our food as it defrosted in our warm fridge and freezer, preserving mobile phone battery, and of course checking the welfare of my loved ones became number one priority. With each day that passed, I fell more and more behind with my business To Do list.
It was then that an epiphany struck. When I last wrote about fear, I thought I had mostly mastered it. Fear no longer got in the way of me and my goals. I was aware of her – and I knew how to tame her. Cyclone Marcia forced me to realise that in one area of my life this was not the case. It was now time for me to overcome fear in this particular area of my life.
What did I fear? I was scared that if I stopped working so damn hard – if I stopped offering my readers over-the-top free content and resources via my blog, social media and newsletters – that they would tune out from my business. It is so very important to me that my readers and subscribers knew how dear they were to me – that they are were not just a number on my mailing list – that they held a special little place in my heart and that supporting them through my work was a priority to me. Over time, I have found myself working harder and harder to ‘prove’ this to them. In doing this, I noticed that my self care practices were slowly dwindling away and I wasn’t always practicing what I preach about self care and Me Time being just as important as every other item on your To Do list. I was doing this out of fear. Fear of losing my subscribers, followers, and perhaps even future clients.
I then remembered a quote I had recently read:
“Fear and anxiety many times indicate that we are moving in a positive direction, out of the safe confines of our comfort zone, and in the direction of our true purpose.” – Charles F. Glassman, Brain Drain The Breakthrough That will Change Your Life.
I realised that this fear of mine was irrational and was holding me back from further growth and of truly offering my best to my readers, subscribers and clients. It was time to face this fear.
So now I ask you dear reader – what do you fear? If a cyclone or some other horrible event were to hit your life tomorrow, what sharp realisation might you have? What have you been resisting?
Let’s band together in the comments below and let go of these fears – and instead embrace love. Let’s be honest with ourselves and others. Let’s continue to try to help and support others – while we also help and support ourselves. And let’s listen to the universe (or in my case Mother Nature) when she sends you prompts and nudges about what you truly need.
Make self care and down time a priority
Self care and Me Time have always been very important to me – and are something that I support my clients with prioritising in their lives. However, I know how difficult it can be squeeze them into your day – and generally the more difficult it is to find time for them, the more you actually need them.
Over the past couple of months, I had been consciously working on increasing self care and Me Time in my life. However, the most obvious way of finding time in my life for these important activities – was staring me right in the face. Stop working so damn hard! It took Cyclone Marcia to help me see this. It forced me to stop working. It made me see that the way I was operating wasn’t sustainable. It made me realise that if I didn’t value self care and embrace love over fear in such a significant area of my life – how could I continue to offer my clients and readers my absolute best in the longer-term.
Following the cyclone, I wrote the following note in my journal:
“Let go of fear. Make rest, relaxation, exploration, and play a priority.”
This did NOT mean that my business and website was no longer a priority in my life. It most certainly was and is. I am in love with it, how could it not be? It just means that I was giving myself permission to back off a bit – to find a balance between hard work + determination, and relaxation + downtime. I was getting not so gentle nudges from the universe to stop pushing myself so hard, and to take the time to restore. So I decided to let go of fear and resistance, and listen – trusting that this is what is right for me and for my readers.
It shouldn’t take a category five cyclone to remind someone that they need to boost their self care practices. So please take my lesson and apply it to your own life. How can you ‘find time’ for self care and Me Time? What is the most obvious thing that you could let go of in order to create space for yourself?
Again, let’s team up in the comments and share what we are going to do to ensure we start taking better care of ourselves. Let’s support each other in prioritising our own needs. Let’s recognise when we are going through periods where we need extra love, support, and downtime. Let’s listen to our bodies and the universe when they tell us that it is time to take better care of ourselves.
Don’t be brave. Ask for help
Even before the cyclone had ended, my Dad was trying to come up with a plan to temporarily cover our roof to prevent flooding, especially if more rain was to follow in the coming days. As soon as the rain and wind settled, he was on the roof putting a small tarp, rug and some tiles over as a temporary fix. We had planned to find some help to cover it more thoroughly as soon as possible.
In the next couple of days that followed, we told our family members that we were okay – and we didn’t ask our neighbours for help. As a result, we didn’t get help. The SES were too busy with worse-off homes and situations. And we thought that everyone else would be too busy cleaning up their own mess to help us with ours.
Slow on the uptake, it took me a whole day to realise that we needed to stop acting so brave, to go out and tell people how stressed we were becoming, and to directly ask for help. My parents must have had the same realisation – because while I was out rallying people together to come and help us, they had our brand new neighbour who we were yet to meet (and who had only just pulled into his driveway for the first time following the cyclone), come around and help us with the roof. Shortly after, my brothers and their partners were there helping remove all of the fallen trees.
The lesson I took from this – it’s brave to not be brave sometimes. And after acting brave, don’t wait for people to come over and help you! Ask for help.
I would love to know – where have you been putting on a brave face in your life, where really in the pit of your tummy you know that you need some help or support? As a first step, reach out in the comments below, or via a private email to me, and let me know. Put it out in the universe that you are now going to seek help when required.
Look for beauty and wonder
As life started to settle down following the cyclone, I sat on the patio with my parents for dinner. We noticed that now that the trees had been cleared (by what my Dad referred to as Nature’s Pruner), we got a better view of the beautiful sunset. It was stunning. Absolutely stunning.
Good things can sometimes result from bad. So far in my life, some of the best things have come from some of the most difficult and traumatic experiences.
How about you dear reader? When you reflect back on your most difficult times, can you think of any good things that came from them?
Let’s soar together,