“When you realize you’re thinking, just acknowledge that. Then turn your attention to your breath flowing in and out, to your body, to the immediacy of your experience. Doing this allows you to be present and alert, and thoughts have a chance to calm down.
With this practice, it can be helpful to gently breathe in and out with the restlessness of the energy. This is a major support for learning to stay present.” Pema Chodron
As residents of Colorado Springs we have all collectively undergone a trauma with the devastation to life, property and nature of the recent wildfire. Everyone was impacted to a greater or lesser degree and, as a result, everyone’s life has changed proportionately.
Not in any way to minimize the pain and suffering that this event has caused, nevertheless life is change, and there is another perspective from which to view the recent events. In the personal development field, change is often metaphorically referred to as ‘ the fire of transformation’. Here we are having the literal experience, metaphor becomes reality.
In the face of such disaster, we naturally re-evaluate our life’s priorities. What is really important to us suddenly becomes very apparent as we are faced with the transient nature of all things, maybe the loss of all belongings. This kind of self-questioning leads to inner growth, transformation. This in turn leads to outer change. Who knows what kind of Phoenix will arise out of these ashes?
And transformation has been clearly experienced by the local population in the unprecendented coming together to offer support and condolence. Rick Harvey, the incident commander, said that in his 30 years experience as a firefighter, he has never before witnessed such community cohesion and support as demonstrated in the Springs and the surrounding areas. A Red Cross worker told me today how easy his job was made due to the strength and purpose of the local charities.
I know that, after experiencing the incredible response of our city to the catastrophe, I feel safer to be a part of such a community should future upheaval occur, whether man-made or natural. There is something special about this place.