Smoke is in the air

Driving my kiddos to school for their first day this morning, smoke and ash fill the air. This is a new experience for us as this is an uncommon occurrence in this part of Oregon.  Some of the beautiful trails, wilderness, and waterfall areas that we, along with many others, love to explore, are under fire this morning.  It’s sad to witness the devastation.  It will not look the same in my lifetime.   (The picture above is from the local area news stations of the fire in the Gorge).

I had a plan to start a new category of posts today, but think this will wait til next week as this morning is full of mixed emotions and I seem to have other things on my mind.  It is the beginning of a new school year for my never ending growing children.  There are so many fires across Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, and Montana, impacting thousands of lives.  There is massive devesation as hurricanes hit.  And I have some friends who have recently lost members of their families.

There seems to be a never ending supply of surprises, changes, and loss in store for us in this life.  We can plan and prepare, but we are still often hit with the unexpected.  This can leave us sad, confused, angry, lonely and desperate to understand the why’s of life.

How do we handle these moments?  How do we tackle grief, loss or devastation and still function? How do we face unexpected or unwanted changes?

For those facing loss, know that you are loved and supported.  You are not alone in the journey of this life.  We all face changes, loss and the unexpected.  DISCLAIMER: I do not begin to try to tell anyone how to feel or behave.  I have not had your experiences and am not making light of anything you may be going through.  I write for myself, for me to process, grow and learn and perhaps in the process maybe have something of value to offer others.

I have found a few ways that have helped me this past year as I faced loss and change that I was unprepared for.  These are just some ways I have started to handle things in my life that I feel help me take better care of myself and be a better version of me for those around me.

  •  First,  and I know it may seem a strange statement to make, but I found a lot of peace in the statement, “no one gets out of this life alive.”  I heard this in a song a little while back and even though I have always known this, the truth of it just kind of hit me.  We will ALL eventually face death.  This brought me peace to realize that we are all in the same boat. Having this connection with every single living thing, just brought a calmness to my heart.  NO ONE gets to live forever. For those that are believers, you may have a faith that believes something else and that is ok, but this current life, on Earth, will one day end.  Somehow knowing that I am not alone in facing death, makes it easier for me to accept the reality of it.
  • Second, I bought books on loss and grief.  I read them, made notes in them and tried to practice some of the ideas they offered.  I kept them by my bed at night for when moments of pain and sorrow would wake me up.  Hearing other peoples stories and learning new ways of coping, helped with healing.  Through out life, I have always turned to books, they offer a great resource of information.
  • Third, I try to walk or do yoga every day.  Some form of exercise.  Moving your body, getting that heart rate up and the endorphins flowing, helps more than just our muscles.  It can change our entire outlook for that moment at least.  Even just a short walk can calm your nerves.  There are many resources where you can find the benefits of walking, too many to list here.  But finding a way to incorporate a daily or weekly exercise routine is one of the best self-care methods I have found.

These are just the basic things that helped me in the recent past and things I still turn to. What do you do when facing change, loss or pain and suffering?  I would love to hear your ideas and things that have worked for you.

We continue to hope for rain across the West.  And for the Hurricanes in the South East to dissipate.  We send support to Houston and hope the waters recede.  In this journey of life, may we all find healthy ways to grieve and mourn our losses and help others along as well.

Continued wishes for a better day, each day.

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