Do you love to watch a thunderstorm roll in? There is something strangely mesmerising as a storm front approaches. We can feel the change in pressure, feel the energy change as towering cloud columns grow, flashes of lightning intensify and then we wait for the thunderous crescendo. We find ourselves wishing for it to continue as much as we wish it would stop. Captivating battering winds and storm surges actually draw people out from the safety of their homes to view and experience nature at her most powerful. Natural raw beauty combines with heightened senses and adrenaline, creating a combustible environment that can change for better or worse in a heartbeat.
One of the most (if not, the only) enjoyable topics I studied at school was weather, especially extreme weather. I have always been drawn to tornadoes and maybe that has something to do with my love of the movie The Wizard of Oz from a young age, but for whatever reason fascination with this natural phenomenon has never left me to this day. I am in constant awe of the destructive power of the tornado that can obliterate one home in a deadly waltz yet leave another completely untouched.
We weather all sorts of storms and turbulence in our daily lives and most of those go completely unnoticed by others. Some of us may feel trapped in the grip of tornado at this moment where normality has been taken over by an unwelcome uncontrollable force and a path of destruction is being carved into what was previously an idyllic lifestyle. For anyone touched by death or terminal illness that may well be their experience. For anyone experiencing divorce, family violence, the end of a relationship, illness or unemployment, they may also feel like a tornado is ripping through their lives. Strangely, it is not uncommon in such circumstances for so many bystanders and onlookers to feel completely helpless, just as if they are watching a storm in nature, captivated but helpless and unable to offer any meaningful assistance. So often being held captivate by a storm is a solitary journey which increases the level of trauma experienced.
While chaos and destruction may feel all-consuming, while we may struggle to find shelter as the storm rages on around us and through us, there is always an opportunity for new growth when the wind dies and the dust settles. We may not see immediate opportunities, for with any loss there is the natural process of grief to deal with, but we will ultimately see and experience growth because there has to be hope. We begin to see the beauty of things when we look at them long enough in a different way and after loss we all hope to see and experience some beauty.
One of Wayne Dyer’s favourite quotes from author Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was, “If you shield the mountain from the wind storms, you never see the beauty of the carvings.”
There is strength in accepting as the starting point, the aftermath of storms or tornadoes that may devastate our lives. With hope, wisdom and grace we can move forward. The pain of loss can be slowly replaced with the joyful memory of the gift of life and love. Destruction can slowly be replaced with the gift of growth and repair. The emotion of anger can slowly be replaced with the recognition it is nothing more than a gift of energetic passion. When we see the beauty of things through eyes of love we can re-build lives and restore hope.
“Common experience teaches that, when great demands are made upon us, if only we fearlessly accept the challenge and confidently expend our strength, every danger or difficulty brings its own strength”, writes JA Hadfield in The Psychology of Power. Whatever storms may roll into our lives; we must hope better days lie ahead for us. For without hope we may forever be consumed within the walls of a deadly tornado.