As we continue to watch the heart-wrenching images of the damage and destruction brought on by hurricane Katrina, we naturally search for a way to make sense of it all.
Why is it so bad?
Why must so many suffer?
Why did this have to happen?
And perhaps the most meaningful question of all – What can I do to help?
Many people heard the call – and responded by personally traveling to the stricken area.
Many more donated money or other resources. Many have opened their hearts and even their homes to the seemingly endless number of displaced citizens.
And that’s the way it should be.
Human nature – at the most basic level – embraces human kindness. Nurturing is hard-wired into every human form.
But many people watching just don’t have the ability to help in these ways. And some have closed off their own hearts to compassion and therefore lack the willingness to get involved.
Others, having both the ability and the willingness to help – simply put off the choice to do anything.
No matter where you stand – and you do stand somewhere on the continuum of participation – Katrina has a message for you.
Whether you actively participate in the relief efforts, or whether you stand back and say, “It’s not my responsibility” – Katrina practically demands your attention.
For some, Katrina is a whisper. For others – more directly affected – it’s a shout.
Look at New Orleans as a metaphor for your life.
A city surrounded by levies – huge walls that keep out the water. It compares to a human heart – surrounded by walls – that keep out not only the pain, but also the emotions that come up in the living of life.
We build and plan and structure a barrier that keeps us from feeling our own emotions. We fortify ourselves, and like to think we’re ‘safe’ – because we’ve protected our hearts.
Along comes something that breaks through our walls. All of a sudden we’re vulnerable and exposed. Our pain is revealed. Our walls failed and we must deal with it – like it or not.
The first message:
Examine Your Walls.
“Where do I sandbag my emotions? Where is my wall? What do I do to keep out the pain? Is that really the best option?”
Many on the news have quickly turned to blame and pointing fingers.
“Who is responsible for this?!”
“Who should be held accountable?”
“Who’s to blame?!!”
The message for you to ponder:
“Who is responsible for my life? Who is running the show? Is my ego or my inner child making the rules and decisions in my life – or is it me – as the adult – who’s in charge?”
Seek your own inner authority. Become aware of the various ‘agencies’ inside of you right now.
You are a multi-faceted individual – much more complex than you may realize. Who’s leading your life? Who’s been forced to take responsibility for your actions?
Do you function as a child, an adolescent, a critical parent, or do you function as an adult?
A third message of Katrina:
“Where do I feel uprooted and removed? How have I been ‘forced’ to abandon my hopes and dreams – my joys – and my heart’s desires?
“How have I been separated from my own visions of living a happy and productive life? Where is my forced separation that has turned me into a refugee from my heart and soul and spirit?”
Katrina offers a chance for introspection and an opportunity to learn more about yourself.
The examples listed above are certainly not the only messages – but they offer a starting point for pondering your own situation in life.
Ultimately, Katrina calls for compassion, for gracious giving, and eventually for cleansing and rebuilding.
Externally – in New Orleans and the surrounding areas… and internally – in your heart and *its* surrounding areas.