Monday, September 16, 2013
Fire Evacuation and Awareness
I'm writing a blog post that is very different than the one I planned as I drove home less than 24 hours ago from 4 nights at the Jackson Lake Lodge.
Imagine 4 days with the above view of the Tetons, combined with a 3 day Majestic Stillness retreat with Lorna Lange at Synergy Wellness and Fitness (What are you telling me you still have not experienced one of Lorna's retreats? You are missing out!). But I digress....
This was followed by a beautiful drive through Yellowstone and all the way home to Missoula on Sunday. We arrived home at a decent hour, enjoyed dinner, some Sunday night football and the last 1/2 of "Field of Dreams". Who can't smile and feel good after "Field of Dreams"?
As I head up the stairs to bed about 9:40 PM thinking, "If I build it will they really come?" our phone rings and the evening takes a turn.
The lightening storm that was happening as we watched the movie had landed a lightening strike about 9:10 PM not far from us, about 1-2 miles, and a fire had started. Our neighbor was watching it and wanted to let us know that with the current high winds, we had a good chance of being evacuated and should prepare.....
The following chain of events:
We open suitcases, take out dirty clothes and insert new clean clothes. I immediately try to use my new tools as I feel myself tense. I bring awareness to my jaw and neck and breath into it. It relaxes. Two minutes later I have to do it again. And on and on....
We answer the question if you must leave a building that might not be there when you return what would you take and put by the door the computer, the file with the passport, marriage license, and birth certificate, a few key pieces of jewelry, the yoga mat and relatively little else. I realize my breath is much more shallow than normal. I stop and breath deeply through my nose and back out and extend my breath. Two minutes later I have to do it again. And on and on...
We decide we might as well try to get some sleep. I breath, I bring awareness, and then I repeat Loving Kindness Meditation. I catch myself worrying and repeat those steps. Again.
11:35 PM there is a knock at the door - we are being evacuated. It's ok - I wasn't sleeping yet anyway.
We pack the car with everything by the door.
12:20 PM we drive away from our home in both vehicles and the fire is about 50 acres. We get to the hotel and fall in bed. I lay in bed confident my home is ok and this is just precautionary, and still my throat is clenched shut. I breath, I bring awareness, and then I repeat Loving Kindness Meditation. I catch myself worrying and repeat those steps. Again. Again. I finally fall asleep.
We awake with about 5 hours of sleep and check to find the fire is about 200 acres. I breath and try to relax my throat and open my computer to work. While tired, I feel mostly calm.
We do some work and go to previously planned meetings.... and check the news every 10 minutes for an update. I remember again, I need to breath, lengthen my breath, relax my throat and bring awareness to what is clenching within me.
11:30 AM we find out our evacuation has been lifted, they feel like the fire is mostly under control and houses are safe. The area is only open to residents. I smile and yet keep realizing my throat is clenched.
At this point we are safe and back in our house. The evacuation was just a precaution because should the winds change suddenly they wouldn't have time to evacuate everyone and there is only one road out. As of right now the fire is under control.
I still feel tired and tense, but calm. I realize I could not have had a more intense situation directly after this retreat in which to practice every tool I learned and wonder, "What would I be like if I didn't have these tools?" I am sure I would be more tired and anxious. I would be overreacting and definitely not still planning on going to Barre class tonight after I pick up my CSA vegetable share. I am thankful for these tools of breath and awareness.
I take my last sentence here to recognize that there are people in Colorado in much more dire straights than this and I send all the warmth and compassion possible to them as they struggle to help themselves and neighbors to survive the floods.
May the people in flooding CO areas be Safe.
May they be Happy.
May they be Healthy.
May they soon be able to again, Live With Ease.