Butterflies, Duck Parades, and the Calm After the Storm

For the past two weeks, I have written about my experience before and during Hurricane Ian. This week, I want to share the experience of the calm after the storm. This hurricane taught me so many lessons I have needed three weeks to process and share all of them. I promise this will be the conclusion of the “storm trilogy.” I hope that sharing these experiences will be helpful to you the next time you encounter one of life’s storms. 

As I mentioned last week, I kept my blinds closed the whole day on Wednesday as Hurricane Ian passed over my home on the west coast of Florida. I knew seeing severe winds battering trees and perhaps seeing objects flying by my window would not contribute to a peaceful state of mind. Thankfully, the last storm bands moved across my neighborhood at about 2 AM on Thursday morning, just an hour after I had fallen asleep.  

Later on Thursday morning, I awoke to the welcome sound of silence outside my window. When I lifted the blinds to let the light in, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Two yellow butterflies were flitting and dancing right in front of my window! How in the world did these delicate creatures survive hurricane-force winds? Where did they ride out the storm?

When my gaze shifted past the butterflies to the pond in the center of my apartment complex, I noticed two mallard ducks swimming along as if nothing had happened the previous day. A few minutes later, a family of ducks entered the pond creating a colorful parade of green and brown (with a dash of blue) feathers swimming by the fountain. On the far side of the pond, I spotted a bright white egret wading slowly into the water, intent on finding a fish. This beautiful scene outside my window gave me such hope! Somehow during the most adverse conditions, the butterflies and birds found a way to keep going. That continues to be my prayer for those who lost so much in the storm.

In addition to the return of nature, this new day brought blue skies, sunshine, and much cooler temperatures. After a hot summer and after being cooped up in my dark apartment for 24 hours, it was glorious to open all the windows and feel cool fresh air circulating through my home. It was like hitting a reset button, clearing out old energy, and welcoming the new. What a striking and welcome contrast from the day before.

It was such a gorgeous day that I decided to walk through my neighborhood to get some exercise and investigate what the storm had done. Without electricity or internet, I hadn’t seen any of the images or videos that my friends and family had described. On my walk, I expected to see  numerous trees and branches down, but I was shocked when I saw that winds had literally ripped the bark off tree trunks and peeled paint off street signs. I have experienced other hurricanes but never witnessed that before.

As I walked toward a major intersection, I passed more broken signs, fallen branches, and a traffic light that had been ripped from its wire and sent to the ground. That was sobering. When I arrived at the intersection, the traffic lights were still hanging, but apparently, no electricity was flowing to them. Four police officers were stationed there, directing traffic. It occurred to me how dangerous this job was with so many distracted drivers on the road these days. I felt a wave of gratitude for each officer as I watched from the corner. I wanted them to know how much I appreciated what they were doing, but obviously didn’t want to distract them. 

The female police officer must have felt my gaze and my intention because suddenly, she looked right at me. Without hesitating, I waved and yelled, “Thank you!” She gave me a smile and a nod before returning to her duties. It may sound silly, but my eyes filled with tears for the opportunity to express my gratitude. That’s what A Course in Miracles calls a “holy instant.” It’s the moment we deeply understand that separation is an illusion.

I know my tears weren’t specifically about the police officers directing traffic. It was their job, after all. It was more about recognizing how we humans come together in challenging times to do what’s needed to help each other. You can see evidence of this after every natural disaster. This holy instant inspired me. For the rest of my walk, I dragged large fallen branches out of the street so cars could pass freely. Yes, I waited until there were no cars approaching when it was safe to do so. In the grand scheme of things, this was a minor action. But it made me feel good to know that I had at least contributed something to make the situation better.

These are my last few takeaways from my experience with Hurricane Ian. First, no matter what storm is happening in life, remember this too shall pass. There willbe calm after the storm. Second, just like the yellow butterflies, the mallard ducks, and the egret, life will find a way to continue. And third, after any storm or tragedy people will come together to help each other. That’s what we do when we remember, in Truth, we are one human family.

If you are experiencing the aftermath of one of life’s storms, it would be my great honor to help you clear the path and find ways to move forward. I offer Spiritual Coaching Packages and Family Constellations Sessions to uncover what is preventing you from living the happy, healthy, prosperous life you were meant to live. Please look around my website for more information about these offerings and to schedule a session.  

Also, I am facilitating another 2-hour online Family Constellations Group Session this coming Friday, October 21 from 1-3 PM Eastern, 10 AM-12 PM Pacific. Click here for more details and to purchase a ticket.

In the holy instant there is no conflict of needs, for there is only one.

A Course in Miracles ~ T-15.V11:4

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