Disaster Can Actually be a Motivator.

There is a ginormous hurricane off the east coast right now.

Just to be clear, at category 4, they say “Catastrophic damage will occur”.  Winds will likely be between 130-156 mph.  Power outages will occur and can last for weeks or even months in some places.

That is a 4.  The hurricane off the coast was just a 5.  Now by the time you are reading this, it has already been downgraded, but let me give you a bit of perspective about this.  In a Cat 5 hurricane, the winds are 157 mph.  To put this in perspective…a class 8 train can travel at 160 mph (257 km/h).  If you want to see how big the girl is, here are some photos from space.

I started doing the preparations for this storm over 1 week ago due to its massive size and speed.  By Monday, I had done as much as I could, and there were evacuations being ordered on the coast.  Each day I would go room by room and think “If this got ruined, how would I feel?”  When we got the call that school was out due to some people having to evacuate low-lying areas, I decided to dig deeper into my feelings around possessions.

Why is it that a disaster causes us to really evaluate our lives?

I had my girls get in the bed with me and I talked about what it would be like to leave the home suddenly.  What would be the MOST important thing you would want to save?  Obviously we already included the pets as family members and no matter what that is always a non-negotiable (I say this as there were people who were turned away from shelters last year because of pets).

So we get to brainstorming this list of what we can distill our life down to in a suitcase.  Really it boils down to this.  Things that bring us happy memories.  Photos…because of the idea they represent.  A moment in time that is not to be replaced.  Stuffed animals that represent all the love in their hearts, all the bad times they held them close, all the adventure they went on with them, all the play dates, and sleepovers and things that they represent to the girls.  Even people who were in our lives who are no longer with us.  They knew these items.  Like the dresses my grandmother made from hand for me that I passed to my girls.  Jewelry my grandmother left me…but to me.  It is not the value in gold, diamonds or pearls.  It is the love and energy of that person the item is imbued with.

And how would I feel if I couldn’t take anything?

The truth is, it would hurt a lot to lose everything you own and I recognize that.  My attic is packed with toys that were mine and passed down to my girls.  Barbies I have had, clothes my kids wore and that I wore.  Christmas decorations from my grandmother…who I lost to cancer in a painful and life altering year where I thought she would overcome it until the very last day.  I considered the sweater that my grandfather wore…that’s tucked in the bottom of my cedar chest.  A few books I have with his handwriting.  A handkerchief he left me that’s from 1899 << seriously, in a hand written envelope from his father.

And it still boils down to one thing.  My FEELINGS and my MEMORIES that can’t be taken away. 

So what has this deep process shown me?

Catastrophic damage only would occur if I lost the people in my life who I love.  Why do these things mean so much to me anyway?  Because I have lost people and these things I cling to bring me joyful feelings of being surrounded by love.  A time when things were different.

Here are 3 tips you can apply right now so you don’t have to wait for disaster:

  • Gather your old photographs, negatives (if you have any), photo albums and such and put them in a water-proof container.  If the photos are very old, make copies if you can and store them else where or scan them to a thumb drive you can take with you.
  • Evaluate what actually means something to you in your “clutter”.  And I mean that nicely.  If your attic is full, consider going through it tub by tub and paring down.  I actually have done that once…and need to again.  If you have a basement, only keep things that bring you joy there in case of flooding (I had to do this as well) and consider consigning other items that are not needed.
  • Keep important documents in your fire-proof safe (yes, we have one) ready to grab as needed.

Really and truly, decide what you are keeping or holding on to just because it has a memory attached to it, but it really is okay to let it go.  If you don’t have room to hold on to it, take a photo and then consign it, donate it, or consider asking a friend if they want it if it would bring them joy.

Considering diving deeper into what is no longer serving you in your life?

Here is what happened when these people applied this process of “deep diving” into their lives.  >> Read more <<

You don’t have to wait until disaster strikes to start doing the work on what is holding you back in life.  I give you free weekly talks and I have one for you today to consider right here.  << can open

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