Photo by Graeme Walker on Unsplash.
Our community of Santa Barbara has been hard hit lately with fire and flood. The 101 freeway was closed at Montecito for almost two weeks after intense rain caused a flood on January 9th. We lost 23 people to the storm--21 dead and 2 children still missing. In the aftermath, there has been a wide range of responses, everything from incredible generosity of spirit to looting. Fortunately, the generosity of spirit is the most abundant. There was a sense of isolation with 101 being closed again so soon after reopening from fire closures. Right after the fires, we have had several small but noticeable earthquakes. People seem to be carrying around a great deal of stress from the disasters and we're being urged to be especially sensitive of others. Almost everyone knows someone, or has friends of friends who have experienced great loss. People are in grief and everyone processes grief differently.
Through it all, I've been grateful for the everyday gifts of waking up, breathing clean air, having a roof over my head, and being able to stay in the moment and not spiral down into worry about the unknown. At times, the fire was advancing towards us at 60,000 acres a day and the weather forecast looked grim, yet I slept better than I typically do. I wasn't always like this. I've had a huge growth curve on that front.
I talk about it in more detail in my recent Thrive Global article, New Year, New You: How I Rewired My Brain for a Better Life and How You Can, Too.
Life has changed in Santa Barbara, and the neighboring towns of Montecito, Summerland, Carpinteria, Ojai and Ventura. It will take years to get back to normal, if it ever does. Maybe that's part of our communities' growth. Life is uncertain. Any attempts we make to control it are ephemeral and Mother Nature can do what she wants. We're at risk for more floods and mud for the next few years. We're almost always in danger of fire here. Best for me to learn how to ride the wave of whatever's next by staying centered, grounded and grateful. Life can be uncertain anywhere, though. We all benefit if we have tools to stay centered, grounded and grateful.
On a personal note, I'm starting to reach out to libraries and adult ed programs in California to give programs in what I've learned about health. Look for me if you're a local. The step after that will be to branch out to other states. Invite me if you're interested in having me speak near you. I'm always happy to Zoom or Skype if I can't get there in person.