Houston’s Spirit and the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey
Understanding What’s Most Important in Life
So many unsettling events have been swirling since the excitement of the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. From Hurricane Harvey to North Korea’s alarming militaristic tests, from hate-filled riots on our cities’ streets to wildfires burning out of control, from road rage and rage in the air to frightening acts of terrorism, both natural and man-made events have been shaking up our world. What we have been hearing, witnessing and feeling has given us much to think about and process. Some events, like Hurricane Harvey, have provided an urgent wake-up call to alert us to what’s most important in life.
Some events, like Hurricane Harvey, have provided an important wake-up call to alert us to what is really important in our lives. Pictured above is flooding from tropical storm Claudette. Photo by Cheryl Empe from www.freeimages.com.
Often we don’t appreciate all our blessings until some – even the most basic ones – are taken away. Sometimes deep loss doesn’t even have to happen to us to affect us emotionally in important ways.
When all of a sudden your world is turned upside-down by some triggering event you have no control over, you get the opportunity to see how your spirit will hold up under extreme pressure. You also get to see what you might offer others during a crisis. It certainly can be a strong test of your faith and ability to surrender and trust, knowing that all is guided and divinely ordained.
Hurricane Harvey Hits Houston Hard
Last week the citizens of Houston, TX, and its surrounding areas were dealt an extraordinary blow as a once-in-500-years historic storm hit the region harder than they could have ever imagined. The incredible amount of rainfall that fell over a short time ensured that life as they knew it would be no more.
The incredible amount of rainfall that fell over Houston and its surrounding areas over a short time ensured that life as they knew it would be no more. Photo by Sharlene Jackson from www.freeimages.com.
Given what was predicted, they had a limited time to prepare and then wait for the storm and its fury to hit. Some evacuated, but many stayed home, hoping to wait out the storm. It is a familiar story with echoes of Katrina. In fact a number of residents had left New Orleans for Houston only to find themselves in another massive struggle for survival.
Acts of Heroism and Courage
Throughout and following the storm, there were countless reports of heroism and acts of courageous kindness. In the face of so much potential danger for first responders and makeshift rescuers, they sacrificed their safety to help others. Those heroic acts uplifted all our hearts and became the very bright lights amidst so much danger and darkness.
There was the furniture magnate who opened his mega-store to those in need of shelter, food, and clothing. A brave chain of people standing in water rescued a drowning motorist. To see the video of this inspirational rescue, click on the image below.
There was another man driving a truck sinking in the water who was rescued by a reporter covering a story. A woman calling in to CNN, sharing the scary scene unfolding around her as water rose higher and higher, was finally rescued. There are so many other heart-warming stories of strangers and neighbors helping others in desperate need. Some were not as lucky. One story in particular that took the lives of six members of a family was so terribly tragic. Two great grandparents and their four precious great grandchildren died in the storm as their white van sunk quickly in treacherous waters.
Reporter Steve Hartman put together a beautiful montage of heroic rescues. He provided a shining commentary about how events like this storm can break down former barriers and unite people who might not have gotten to interact and appreciate each other had their survival not been at stake. “When Mother Nature is at its worst, human nature is at its best,” he affirmed. You can check out his beautiful video that has such a poignant and important message about unity and humanity below.
We all owe Houston and its citizens a deep debt of great gratitude for shining such a bright light on what should really matter most in our lives. So many in Houston are now savoring and taking delight in simple things like food, clothing and shelter. Taking a big hit for us all, Houston and its citizens showed us incredible courage and faith in the face of so much tragedy, destruction, grief and loss. We are all pulling for their resiliency, strength and will as so much work lies ahead in the rebuilding of the city and the healing of so many hearts.
Daniel’s Birthday Party and Great Gratitude
I was so happy and grateful when I learned that friends of ours who live in a suburb of Houston had no damage to their home. All was intact and no worse for wear following Hurricane Harvey. They were even able to give their son, Daniel, who turned 6, a small but very sweet birthday party.
Because of the flooding, his friends could not attend, but his parents, sister and grandparents did everything to make his celebration so special. Perhaps it is a birthday he will be especially grateful for in years to come. It will be one he will remember not only for its balloons, presents and cake, but for the unscathed warmth and comfort of his beautiful home surrounded by his beloved family who were all safe during and after the storm.
Despite the horrendous Houston storm that left so much of the area and surrounding towns flooded, Daniel’s home was not affected. He and his loving family were able to celebrate a beautiful sixth birthday. Photo by Shohreh Ghorbani, 2017. All rights reserved.
In a previous blog post titled, “Give the Gift of Safety,” I wrote about how important it is for our pets to feel safe. Without feeling safe there can be no stability to build on what Abraham Maslow called the “Hierarchy of Needs.” In his hierarchy, safety comes right after physiological needs like food, water, clothing and shelter. Those in the midst of Hurricane Harvey lost both their physiological comforts and their safety. A disaster of this proportion overwhelms the landscape and leaves behind so much devastation, sorrow and wreckage.
And yet from the dirt-filled murky waters left in the aftermath of this historic storm, there arose on those ashes the indomitable human spirit. So many walked through and sailed onto those sometimes turbulent waters to perform such memorable and heroic acts of courage. We all witnessed compassion, kindness, selflessness and the strong will to rescue and recover. First responders and volunteers helped so many find a way out of the flood waters and the wreckage of their homes and towns.
What Life Lessons Can We Learn from this Event?
What does this epic life lesson have to teach us and its survivors? Many of us are asking this question and grappling with the answers. A friend wondered why this event happened in such a huge and devastating way to affect so many in a single fell swoop. There are, of course, no easy answers.
My intuitive sense is that on an energetic level the magnitude and scope of the historic solar eclipse will have some long-range effects on this planet and its inhabitants. If astrologists warn us to be more vigilant and careful when Mercury is in retrograde, then just imagine the potential for negative events and energy to occur when the sun is eclipsed by the moon in so many locations throughout the day across the United States in an extraordinary once in 99 years event.
In a blog post titled, “A Call to Action,” Patricia Cota Robles writes:
“When we observe what is taking place in the outer world it is obvious that something big, but very confusing, is happening. There are two statements in the Bible that describe what we are experiencing. One is, ‘This is the time of screaming and the gnashing of teeth,’ and the other is, ‘All that is hidden must now be revealed.’
“The reason this is referred to as ‘The time of screaming and the gnashing of teeth,’ is because when we look at the outer world, we can easily see the horrific negativity being pushed to the surface to be healed and transmuted back into Light, which creates the illusion that things are getting worse. But what we cannot see as easily is the incredible Light of God that is pushing those negative things to the surface.
The second statement, ‘All that is hidden must now be revealed,’ is also the result of God’s Light pushing everything to the surface.”
On an energetic level, the solar eclipse can have powerful long-ranging effects on Earth and its inhabitants. God’s Light is pushing everything to the surface, according to Patricia Cota-Robles. Photo by Evgenij Kursai from www.freeimages.com.
The Art of Non-Attachment – Everything is on Loan
Energetically, some events happen as a way of effecting dramatic change and clearing. Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, told a reporter that in a year “Houston will be back better than ever.” So much will be torn down and rebuilt “better than ever.” The “contrast” that challenges us often leads to spiritual growth and new awakenings, whether it happens on an individual basis or on a local, national or global level.
One of the important lessons often learned is not to get too attached to anything. The other is that everything we have and all that we love is only on loan.
Even after experiencing so much loss, author and creator of The Journey Process, Brandon Bays, still felt so grateful and so blessed. Photo from www.thejourney.com.
This is what author and speaker Brandon Bays shares in her book The Journey. She recounts how she survived extraordinary losses in her life. She lost her job; her house in California burned to the ground; her husband left her for another woman; and even her daughter was estranged from her. She lost all her income and savings. She even lost her health as she found herself dealing with a very large tumor in her abdomen.
From the ashes of all those heart-wrenching losses, she rebuilt her life from the ground up as she worked to heal her physical health. The great gift of all her previous spiritual work was to prepare her to understand well how all is always just on loan to us. With that relaxed attitude about all she lost, she was more easily able to allow so much good to flow back into her life.
In a subsequent book, Freedom Is: Liberating Your Boundless Potential, she writes this upon learning her house had burned down:
“Instead, I felt curiously light, as if some old karma had been lifted off my shoulders — as if a huge weight had fallen away. All of those things had only ever been on loan, and the gratitude and completion I was resting in felt completely untouched. This fire turned out to be just the beginning of a huge wave of leave-taking that occurred over the next two years (and which I describe in detail in The Journey): A year later, my marriage unexpectedly dissolved, my daughter and I became estranged, and the tax authorities ended up taking all our income and savings. Within those two years, everything I had come to know as my lifestyle fell away, and I was left utterly and literally without anything.
“And yet, this infinite grace that I was resting in continued to feel so abundant, so full. I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that the wholeness did not become less whole. It just became more openly apparent! Of course, the natural experience of grieving, loss, and hurt took place, but it happened within the vaster context of feeling already whole and completely complete.
“Over the years since that time, grace has blessed me with new relationships, a new and deeply rewarding marriage, an entirely new and successful business, bestselling books, and a lifestyle so charmed and full of grace that even in my dreams I could not have imagined it. And yet, I’m still aware that everything in my life is and always was on loan. I dance an even lighter relationship with the outer things in my life. The gratitude deepens, along with an even sharper recognition that life is truly fleeting and each precious drop of it must be savored. The extraordinary blessedness of everything has only become more poignant. Truly, non-attachment is your invitation to soar in complete freedom.”
“Truly, nonattachment is your invitation to soar in complete freedom.” Photo by Asif Akbar from www.freeimages.com.
Princess Diana’s Legacy of Love and Service
Recently, there were many documentaries on the life of Diana, the Princess of Wales, to commemorate the 20-year anniversary of her death in France. With all that she suffered throughout her life, what made her so special beyond her beauty and royal stature was her ability to reach out to those in need. Although from the upper class, her heart resonated with those who were suffering and in need of encouragement and compassion. The people resonated with her as well because they understood that even though she was from a life of extreme privilege that she had suffered many losses and also had to find a way to rebuild her own life with strength and courage.
At the end of her life, the sea of flowers outside Kensington palace was just a hint of how loved she was. Her death brought an entire country and people throughout the world together in their grief and shock.
The sea of flowers outside Kensington palace was just a hint of how loved Princess Diana was. Photo from www.wikipedia.org.
Perhaps Diana’s sudden and unexpected death led people around the world to also ask important questions and feel their own mortality and the mortality of those they love. Death can so easily claim any of our lives at any time.
Holding on to Hope and Faith – “Walking on Water”
When events shake our world and infringe on our sense of safety and well-being, we are often forced to ask ourselves important questions. What would we do if everything were taken from us? Would we respond as gracefully as Brandon Bays and many in Houston? How would we respond if it were our last day here? How would we respond if someone we loved so much were suddenly taken from us in a disaster? Would we step forward to help someone else in peril at the risk of losing our own life? We might also think about how well we would recover from extreme devastation and what that recovery might look like for us. Would we hold on to our sense of hope and faith or descend into despair?
My last blog post on “Hope” was almost prophetic. Angels are always guiding me and channeling messages to me. Here is one of the thoughts I shared:
“Hope always provides an opening, even in the darkest of circumstances. Those fighting for their survival always have hope they will be rescued or find a way against all odds to move past a challenge whether through their own persistence, the help of others or through spiritual intervention and miracles.”
I encourage those in Houston and others in need of hope and inspiration to read my blog post on “Hope” and to listen to the meditation with Phanuel, the Angel of Hope, below.
Another meditation I did came to mind when I thought of the crisis in Houston. My “Walking on Water” meditation is about having faith and trust in the midst of challenges. It’s so interesting that for Houston, so much water could have easily drowned the faith and spirit of its citizens, but the city ascended in its spirit and united in remarkable ways. Those who came with their boats didn’t ask residents to “walk on the water,” but they did ask for their trust and faith in coming aboard. To listen to my “Walking on Water” meditation on faith, surrender and trust, click on the play button below.
Pastor Joel Osteen’s Sermon on “The Middle Way”
Pastor Joel Osteen, whose church is in the Houston area, has shared many sermons on staying strong in faith during challenges. Not only is his Lakewood Church in the Houston area, but he found himself in the midst of controversy for not opening the doors of his church soon enough during Hurricane Harvey. He explained to the media that he was unable to open his doors sooner because of flooding and the trouble his own staff was having in being able to come to work.
The sermon I saw this week was about the challenges of “the middle way.” You may have a great start and a wonderful finish, but along the way, in the middle, there will always be challenges to overcome. It is about expecting challenges to help you grow, while knowing you will always be rescued and delivered to a glorious finish. You can watch his sermon here.
He and his wife, Victoria, offered a combination of songs and inspirational prayer to help uplift the hearts of the Houston parishioners who were able to attend on Sunday, September 3, 2017. You can watch their heartfelt discussion of faith and strength in the face of challenges below.
Take Time to Reflect and Look Within
With all that has happened, I encourage you to take some time to meditate this week. Take long walks in nature, meditate in silence or with music, or listen to guided meditations. You can find a variety of guided meditation on my website here.
When you go inside, reflect on your passion and purpose here and perhaps what you want to next accomplish or experience in your life, knowing that every moment is so precious. You might ask questions about your life and what you would like to see happen. You can call on different angels for guidance and support.
Let Houston be an important reminder that nothing is forever and that there may be great challenges we will face at different times in our lives. Let it also be a reminder of how valiant, strong, determined and compassionate we can all be in times of great strife.
Even when some in Houston thought help would never come, they were so grateful and relieved to find out otherwise. For some, tragically, the help never came. Perhaps it was their appointed time to make their transition.
We can never fully know or understand why we face so many challenges or why some of us meet with such tragic ends. What seems clear is that both seen and unseen forces will be ever-ready, whenever possible, to come to your aid and help pull you out of turbulent waters to return you to safety.
For those affected by “intimations of their own mortality,” as William Wordsworth shared, who realize how precious each moment is, and who want to awaken to more joy and abundance in their lives now, check out my “Time to Awaken to Joy and Abundance” Packages.
Here is some of what I share about this package of sessions:
“Through angel counseling and guidance, advanced energy healing and other modalities, we will work together to let more light in and open your heart to more joy, abundance, gratitude and love. Don’t miss another precious moment regretting the past or worrying about the future. Focus on the beauty of each moment, life’s simple pleasures and treasures and shift into the expansive space of a very grateful heart.”