As I write this I am warm and safe and dry as hurricane Sandy rages outside. I even have electricity, obviously! Watching all of the doomsday predictions on TV has reminded me of an important lesson I learned in graduate school. Crisis intervention was an important part of my training to become a social worker. My first clinical supervisor told me that the Chinese symbol of crisis is made of two other symbols: danger and opportunity
. It was my job not only to help the client cope with the danger of the crisis but also foster the sense of hope that once they survive the danger there would be opportunity: an opportunity for growth, for deeper understanding, to share what was learned.
I have no idea if she was right about the Chinese symbol, but the message is one that holds true.
In NJ, we are a bit traumatized by the severe storms of last year. Now that Sandy is upon us, we must assess, accept and prepare for the very real dangers of the storm. In the Cohen home, we are no strangers to floods. Thus, to prepare the basement, we rolled up the area rugs, raised the sofas on paint cans, the kids even got every single Lego off the floor! We have flashlights, candles, water and we (finally) got a generator. However now that our preparations are complete we must let go of what we cannot control and shift our perspective to look for the opportunity.
For me, the forced downtime is a good upside of the bad weather.
Here are some suggestions of opportunities you might take advantage of if you are also stuck inside for the next 48 hours:
- Stay in your pajamas all day.
- Read for hours.
- Tackle project in your home that you’ve been avoiding like cleaning out your junk drawers and closets.
- Build a fort with your kids out of the pillows on your couch.
- Write a letter to friend or relative.
- Look at old photo albums.
I hope that the damage and danger is minimal and you find opportunities of your own to help you weather the storm.