A Wake Up Call

I grew up in a place that reminded me regularly that I was a small part of a very gigantic picture. When the earth moves underneath your feet and takes everything attached with it (floors, cabinets, large trees) you feel powerless.

First it scares the crap out of you. Then you have a rushing sense of deep and overflowing gratitude. I’m alive!

I imagine it is the same with a flood, tornado, hurricane, volcanic eruption or any other major natural disaster. Any time nature exhibits its power, we are reminded of our status as guest, not host.

Funny how I never truly appreciated having to struggle with nature until now. Since living in Munich, where there seem to be very few struggles with nature (I won’t count the infrequent hailstorms or fruit flies) — I’ve been missing something.

At first it was a kind of lull — then complacency. Things are just dull.

There is no physical reminder to dislodge old (bad) habits, hard old shells that cover my brain and affect how I think. Nothing to wipe away ruts that I get stuck in. Nothing that forces me to wake up!

Sad to think I have to be forced to do that. It is too easy to get stuck in the Mundane and Mediocre.

The other thing that natural disasters seem to do is bring people together. I remember a forest fire behind our house a few years ago. There were helicopters dumping water from the nearby pond, and neighbours all around coming out to look.

Bikers stopped to look and I got to meet neighbors that I had been living next to for more than a year — and had never seen before. There was concern for the folks living next to the forest and a few of us helped them spray their roof and move furniture. Luckily it came to nothing, and I have not seen some of those people since.

For a moment there was a feeling of caring, coming together, connection. People felt necessary, lucky.

Perhaps that is the biggest reminder — not to take things for granted. And as much as I dislike hearing about the struggles of those who survive a natural disaster, I do envy their wake-up call.

And if I’m going to be lucky enough to chose my moments of “aliveness” — then it will most likely be in Nature.

Where to do you feel most alive? When do you feel most alive?

I bet it’s not sitting in front of the television or computer.

What would it take for you to feel more alive, connected — like things mattered?

What would it take for you to go find out?

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