In recent days, I've been digging deep to find some inspiring words to lift my spirits - and those of so many others - as tens of thousands of Albertans suffer a major blow with the horrific and rapidly spreading wildfires that have devastated the Fort McMurray area.
I can't even begin to imagine what these (to date) approximately 100,000 evacuees are going to do now. It will be many weeks or months before they can even think about rebuilding their homes and lives. With no rain in the forecast, and the fire still out of control, there's no telling how much more damage will be done. As it is, experts say it could be months before they will put out the last of the fires.
The province was already limping along due to the current situation in the oil industry, with tens of thousands of lay-offs in the past year and a half, with more on the way. This means all other businesses suffer, as all those "oil folk" don't have as much money to spend. And now with the fire, we will be slammed economically further still, especially because "Fort Mac" is right in the middle of the oil action.
How quickly life can change...one minute these people were going about their business, it was just another day. And then in an instant, storeys-tall flames were licking at their homes and offices and all they could do was get away as quickly as possible. Some weren't at home at the time of the mandatory evacuation, and were unable to retrieve beloved pets. I cannot imagine...
I know it doesn't take something so large-scale and drastic to leave you feeling like Life is chewing you up and spitting you out, landing you on concrete and making you wonder if the Universe is out to get you. Perhaps that's how you feel right now.
I don't know whether or not there are reasons for everything that happens and to be honest, it doesn't really matter if there are. At the end of the day, all we can do is accept whatever is happening in any given moment and keep looking ahead.
I know, easier said than done, right? But the truth is that when you feel like the Universe is being a bully, here are a few tips that can help:
- Make sure you take good care of yourself. Cut out any unnecessary visits, tasks, or demands on your time and energy. You might feel a need to just retreat from the world. So do it - as much as you're able, hide out, lick your wounds, fill yourself with activities that nourish your soul and concentrate on balance and healing in all aspects of your life.
- Remember this: Change is not painful; resistance to change is painful. Although we are creatures of habit and don't particularly like many of the changes that Life throws at us, we're not meant to be stagnant. Whatever is changing must be something that needs it; otherwise, it wouldn't be happening.
- Stay focused on your vision for the future and keep putting one foot in front of the other. The only constant is change, and even when it feels like everything is stuck and unmoving, there are shifts happening inside and around you all the time. Every day that passes, you are one step closer to being on the other side of this difficult time.
You can choose to look at the Fort Mac situation - or your own challenges - as being bleak with a long, difficult battle ahead. Or you can remember that you are constantly adjusting, adapting, healing, growing and changing, and you can know that those same qualities are the very ones that are actively at work on your behalf as you move from one phase of life to the next.
You will get there. You're already closer to it than you were when you got up today.