The familiar "Serenity Prayer" tells us to "...accept the things we cannot change". 90 mph winds and a body slam to the eastern shoreline fall into this category. But, there's a second admonition in that prayer, "...to change the things we can..." Let's talk about what we might feel the urge to change in the face of a 13 ft. wall of ocean.
The Huffington Post asked readers about survival strategies and their plans for finding comfort during Hurricane Sandy's rampage. The list included stocking up on essentials, eating comfort foods (including homemade soup), snuggling pets, reading, not answering the phone, and adhering to established routines. Once safety was assured, coping tactics seemed to arrange themselves neatly around one core impulse - the instinct to draw in to ourselves - closer to home.
When life is predictable and our equilibrium is not at stake, we can be careless. Self awareness and self monitoring loosen, and we tend to live our lives slightly beyond ourselves, in innocent and subtle preoccupation.
When the status quo is called into question we make adjustments. We tend to focus more on the immediate, we pay closer attention and become more present. This isn't a panic response. This is deliberately tuning in, applying ourselves to the moment at hand.
This perspective is scalable, accurate. It isn't characterized by big statements, lofty ideas and clever posturing. It's more closely akin to simple motives, obvious explanations and true words, a return to what is essential and intrinsically valuable.
Just like the storm-tracking radar that warned us of Sandy's potential well before she ever made landfall, those of us who've been-there-and-back a few times can exploit our experience and anticipate the life 'storms' that inevitably arise. That's one of the perks of having a few grey hairs - we don't have to wait until the windows are rattling and the waves are crashing before we make adjustments and live 'closer to home'.