Mandatory evacuation, surviving Hurricane Frances, being the Vision Keeper

Hello and welcome to the October 2004 issue of Horizons Magazine.  What an exciting September we’ve had, huh? First Hurricane Charley, then Frances, then Ivan, then Jeanne – Florida is getting a cleansing like we haven’t seen for decades, many for the first time in our lives! I grew up in Florida and the worst storm I ever experienced was Hurricane Donna in 1962, when I was 10. We’d boarded up the house and rode it out, and it wasn’t until the next day that we realized, by the widespread damage, what an enormous storm it was.  What I recalled most was hearing a knock on the door in the eye of the storm when Mr. Jones came over with a cup of coffee for my dad and they chatted a few minutes.

As I boarded up my home in preparation for Hurricane Frances, I said a prayer with every screw that went into every board. I have a frame house, so it’s easy for me to board up – I can simply screw plywood to my exterior walls! As I blessed each screw and each board, I asked them to keep me safe and protected. I figured if the screws and boards weren’t strong enough to hold, perhaps my faith would be.

I’d fully intended to ride out the storm in my boarded up house. Then, when my power went out for about 5 minutes as the storm approached, the visions of no lights and no refrigerator didn’t scare me – but the thought of no air conditioning for maybe 12+ hours did! I quickly packed the van up and headed north on I-95 – I was literally the only car on the road for the first hour. Everyone else had evacuated 3 days earlier. As I saw other drivers, I sent silent blessings to them; prayers that their fear would be placed with feelings of doing the right thing, being ok, feeling safe and secure. We smiled as we passed, and a few gave me a thumbs up. I was saying prayers and sending blessings to all the houses I passed, and circling a protective bubble around us all. I felt safe and sound.

Through a serendipitous chain of events, I ended up riding out the storm at The Comfort Inn in Lake City, FL. When the water pump in my van gave out, I happened to be within walking distance of the only hotel in town that had a room available for me, right across the street from the Tire Kingdom parking lot I’d pulled into.  Lucky, huh? Not really. I’ve come to realize that what makes me think I’m lucky is that I always expect to come out fine in any situation, especially during challenges. I’ve seen it happen so often that I’ve come to expect it and believe it, and that’s why I attract it. (After note: My original destination had been Franklin, NC. Had my water pump not given out, I would have been there when the same hurricane passed through and caused major flooding with much damage, loss of housing and many dead.)

I set myself up in my room at The Comfort Inn, a second floor unit facing west into the courtyard, with a beautiful crepe myrtle tree right outside my giant windowpane; I like to keep drapes open so I can see outside, and it was a beautiful clear day in Lake City.  In a hotel, I always set up a small altar first, then I smudge my room. Then I hang up my clothes and set up my laptop computer. After I got settled, I turned on the tv to see where Hurricane Frances was, and The Weather Channel had her churning closer and closer to the east coast of Florida.

As I watched the storm image on the screen with the sound muted, I decided to take her into my meditation and do some Vision Keeper work. I practiced breathing in the storm and breathing her up to God, then breathing down God’s peace into the storm. I’d breathe in her force and power and offer it up to God, then I’d breathe down the still silence of God and offer it into the storm.

This is adapted from a Buddhist form of meditation, and I like to do it in times of trouble, and when watching news reports. It’s been said that when just 1% of the population meditates upon peace and lovingkindness, the effect spreads to the other 99% – even if they don’t believe it. How relevant it would be if it only took a couple of us here and there doing a meditation like that to breathe the storm into place! Who’s to say it doesn’t work?

So I spent my time in the hotel – waiting for the garage to open on Tuesday morning to fix my van – in my role as Vision Keeper: watching the weather on tv with the sound muted, sending blessings to those in need, meditating and praying for safe passage through the storm, journalling, sketching and doing yoga. The last 2 days in Lake City it was stormy and, while we never lost power, we lost cable tv for 24 hours. I continued breathing in the storm as I saw her in my mind’s eye. I used my power of visualization to concentrate on her although I could no longer see her. I practiced breathing peace and calm into her center, in my own mind, in my inner cinema.

When I returned home, I had no power and accepted the offer of galpals Suzie Miller and Sally Trimble to move me and the Horizons Magazine office into their guest bedroom so I could get this issue out on time. I had such a good time, I didn’t want to leave.

So it’s been an eventful hurricane season for all of us. In times like this, I always like being reminded of some things I’ve learned:

Whatever is happening is happening for a reason. Whatever is happening is God’s will.

It’s possible for the storm to dissipate before getting here. It’s possible for the storm to pass over us without harm to anyone.

God’s ability to keep us safe – no matter what – is more powerful than any storm.

Miracles happen every day.

It’s possible for that hurricane to come riproaring right through our neighborhood, and yet by some miracle leave us untouched.

Past experience tells me that to the extent I believe God has it all under control, to that extent am I unlikely to be impacted by the storm.

I don’t need to try to direct the storm elsewhere using my thoughts, in order that it bypass us. To the extent I feel I have to direct the storm elsewhere, to that extent do I give power to the storm and attract it toward me.

A better use of my thoughts at this time is to forgive anyone I have conflict with. (If that sounds unrelated to surviving a hurricane without harm, trust me, it’s not. Experience tells me it’s all related.)

If I hold a grudge against anyone – living or passed – now is the time for me to say “I’m willing to release my hard feelings against ____ once and for all. I’m willing to forgive ____ for all past transgressions. I ask forgiveness for anyone I have wronged, consciously or unconsciously.”  This is a version of the Ho’oponopono process.

When I choose to untangle my emotions from past wrongs – real or imagined – I can lift myself into a state of consciousness that keeps me safe and happy, no matter what appears to be going on around me.

When I am untangled from feelings of dissatisfaction, criticism and blame, I am lifted in consciousness to a place where I can weather any storm – physical or psychological.

It’s possible for every one of us to experience the storm fully, yet be unharmed and un-inconvenienced by it.

I can choose to think that God will protect me no matter what the weather service tells the rest of the nation is going on around me.

What is happening to the person next to me does not have to be my experience.

Even if The Weather Channel is showing the rest of the world that a storm is right on top of me, I can experience comfort and wellbeing and safety.

I’ve learned that God is my supply, whether financial, physical or emotional. If it’s God’s good pleasure to give me the Kingdom and all that’s in it, then I have no doubt He’s thrilled to keep me and my loved ones safe just because I thought to ask him for it.

Let me know what thoughts you think to make you feel safe when stuff is going on around you.  Enjoy our offering this month.  Hari Om.