It’s been just over two weeks since Hurricane Sandy devastated the northeast, particularly New Jersey, New York, and parts of Connecticut.
As I’ve seen the pictures and heard the stories of so many families and individuals impacted by this horrific storm, my heart has literally hurt at times – and been filled with warmth and joy at others.
Some families, including those within the iPEC community, have lost everything. And in the same breath, I’ve heard from some of them, and others greatly impacted by the storm, that they’ve been moved by the outpouring of support and compassion from those they know – and by the amazing generosity from those they don’t.
Thank you to those of you who have already begun serving, volunteering, and helping in any way. To those who you’ve already helped, the people being served have said it is priceless, and has restored their hope just when they needed it most.
While the storm may have literally passed, the recovery has yet to really even begin, which is what most compelled me to write this blog.
We Are On An Emotional Journey
However you’ve been affected by the storm, consider the emotions that have come up for you.
If you’re feeling that you’ve had so much taken from you for so little reason, then mourn your losses fully. Don’t try to move on just yet. Feel the sorrow, the grief. Empty yourself out and let it flow. It’s okay. You can’t let go and move forward if you’re still holding on.
If you’re feeling angry, and even infuriated, over your circumstances, consider how you’re going to use those feelings to your advantage, to your benefit, instead of letting them burn you up. It makes sense to be angry over a great number of things – over the losses, over the seeming senselessness, over the recovery or relief, or even over the basic help that can’t come quick enough.
Anger gets things moving again; it stirs you up. But don’t let it own you or turn you into something you’re not. Instead, become its master, and decide how you’re going to use that inner storm to drive you forward.
If you’re feeling saddened by these events, and you weren’t directly affected, consider what lies behind that sadness. How much of what you’re feeling relates to sorrow for others? What parts of it relate to reflections on your own life? And what is the sadness truly about?
The answers to these questions may hold great insight into, and understanding of, your values. They may help to reveal what you’re most grateful for in your life. Perhaps your sadness triggers regrets of things not yet said or done. Consider the deeper message; don’t run from it or assume it’s only because of the events in front of you. Then, consider what you want to do with that message.
If you weren’t directly impacted, and your heart hurts as mine does for what others have, and are, going through, then consider what you’ll do to serve others, to help them mourn their losses, to help them find a purpose in all of this– or to get them in motion again.
Whatever you’re feeling, know that you’re feeling it; know that it’s where you are right now – and likely what you need to feel in order to move on. You’ve had significant change and transition thrust upon you, and pausing to feel, to reflect, to adjust, and to give yourself that time is critically important and necessary – even if that time is a second’s pause, or in the back of your mind, while you do whatever you need to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
For everyone else, please keep in mind how much the little things mean, and how deeply powerful they are, at times like this. It’s the extra moment spent deeply listening to someone in need. It’s the extra oomph you put into that hug. It’s the very act of spending your most precious resource – your time – in service to others.
To those in our community who’ve been impacted, our hearts go out to you. Please contact us and let us know how we can help.
D. Luke Iorio, CPC, PCC, ELI-MP
President & CEO
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)