A Few Insights On Crisis

Crisis – it’s an inescapable part of the human experience. Your attitude in crisis is key to your personal growth as well as your sanity. In the midst of crisis, your sanity depends on being calm, remaining centered and functioning in a giving mode.

In Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…, Richard Carlson, Ph.D, talks about remaining centered in crisis, “The eye of the storm is that one specific spot in the center of a twister, hurricane, or tornado that is calm, almost isolated from the frenzy of activity…How nice it would be if we too could be calm and serene in the midst of chaos—in the eye of the storm…You’ll notice that by being in the eye of the storm, you will be more present-moment oriented.”

Remaining centered in the present is difficult when others around you are falling apart. However, the human will is an extraordinary thing. You are in control of your will – of your attitude – and you can command yourself to remain calm and objective. Whether you are in the midst of crisis or living day-to-day, staying centered does take practice. By the way, faith also has a big role here. By faith, I mean that you trust things happen for a reason, even if you don’t know what that reason is, then you rise up to fix the situation as best you can. Being present-moment oriented is a challenge because it demands that you don’t worry about the future (“What’s going to happen next because of this?”) or the past (“What led to this?”). Bothering with details you have no control over distracts you from using the energy you need in the present to act or to console those people who need your love.

Another way to cope with the storm is to tap into your compassion so that you can give to whoever is in need. It works hand-in-hand with being present-moment oriented. When you are giving you aren’t wrapped up in panic, because you are too busy pouring out love. It takes strength to be giving in a crisis, but it is such a healing activity that no matter how raw you feel during the process, you will come out fortified on the other side. “There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.” (Kahlil Gibran). Opening yourself and giving to others fills you up and replenishes you in return. It sounds like a paradox, but it is exactly what occurs if you will allow it. “Give and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6:38).

One last note… in addition to giving as well as being centered and calm like the eye of the storm, you need to be aware of your own needs. If you could use some help, open yourself to others who are giving. Allow yourself to receive. It’s certainly okay to value rugged individualism – it’s part of our culture. However, during times of crisis, it often becomes apparent just how much we can’t exist without each other.

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