I’m resisting the urge to head over to Stuff.co.nz right now and watch all the footage of the earthquake in Christchurch.
I did earlier, and it was overwhelming. Emotions coursed through my body as visceral as if I was there – which I was energetically.
Watching people in distress on camera is just the same as being in the same room as them from an energetic perpective – at least it is when your heart is open.
As I watched, and felt the emotions well up inside, I asked myself:
Why am I watching this?
Who does it serve if I get emotionally overwhelmed right now?
The answer of course is no one is served and I’m watching because…
Partly because I want to know what happened – yet I was in Christchurch when the first earthquake struck and my exerience of the event was markedly different from the news reports I saw later. I know that what’s on the news is not the whole story, it’s not even a decent part of a story. It’s just the most dramatic, heart-wrenching slice of the story.
Watching the footage won’t tell me what’s happening over-all, just what’s most dramatic, most visual and carries the most emotional charge.
Partly I want to watch because I want to connect with the people in Christchurch. I want to know what they’re going through, what they’re experiencing. Yet, again, the news isn’t going to give me more than a narrow, heart-wrenching slice of the experiences.
I want to watch because I know people down there. My sister is down there, my step-sister, their partners, my friends Katie Lane, and Anna Conlan. Old family friends. Old school friends. Yet what’s on the news isn’t what’s happeing to them. And what they’re each experiencing will form a more even and full picture of the event, but I won’t get that full picture from the news. I’ll have to wait to get in touch with them all by phone or Skype.
Upon contemplation, I realised that beyond getting sucked into the drama of it all, there is no purpose served by watching the footage.
Yet it was so difficult to unplug, to wrench myself away, to start cooking the eggplant pie I’d promised to make for dinner.
When I finally did hit stop, stepping out of the devestation and destruction back into my kitchen in Paekakariki felt dislocating.
I stood at the kitchen sink for a few moments and breathed deeply, feeling my feet on the bare lino, experiencing the grounding force of prana moving down through my body into the earth. I admired the bold green of the overgrown foliage outside the kitchen window and noticed the pitter-patter of rain on the roof.
Being in the moment allowed the emotions generated by the news footage to pass through my body and dissipate into through the lino into the earth.
I thought about all those people in Christchurch – those trapped, those crushed, those walking wounded, those shaken up and I prayed that they would be Conscious and aware enough to be able to take care of their own needs in this time, or be supported by people who could.
I prayed that those who had experienced only the emotional trauma would know how to allow emotion to move through them and discharge into the earth and the sky so that they could then attend to those around them.
Usually when we think of first aid in an emergency, it’s thoughts of CPR and tourniquets and bandaging that come to mind. These serve us well on a physical level, and need to be dealt with immediately. But in the wake of trauma like the earthquake, we also need to know how to do emotional first aid.
We need to know how to disassociate in the immediate impact of an event so we can respond with clarity and urgency to exactly what’s happening – getting to a safe place, making smart decisions in the immediate aftermath, staying safe.
We also need to know how to process the emotions we’ve disassociated from, as soon as it’s safe and possible, so that we don’t store trauma in the body.
We have to recognise in ourselves what we need after the trauma beyond food, water and shelter – the need for company, the need for a hug, the need to be cooked for and cared for and the need to be listened to.
For those of us who are skilled empaths, we need to know – once we’ve taken care of our own emotional needs and are grounded and clear – how to absorb and discharge the emotions of those around us. And those who come to us for help – for that company, for that hug, that cooking and caring and listening.
Call it emotional alchemy if you will, where one person is able to help another discharge themselves emotionally, move those emotions through their own energetic body without allowing them to become embedded, and discharge them safely into the natural environment.
Down the line, others of us like Brandon Bays and The Journey Practitioner workers – who’ve been in Christchuch since the last quake helping people deal with emotional trauma as it arises – need to know how to guide people through their own direct experience of emotional release.
Being able to meet these needs in a clear and conscious way is why it’s so important not to get sucked into the drama of large scale traumatic events like the Christchurch earthquake.
When we’re sucked into drama mode, we’re actually getting an emotional charge from the excitement of the events. In some small way, we’re feeding off the energy an event like this creates.
Unplugging from the news footage was my way of disconnecting from the drama so I could reconnect to Myself.
Sitting in my kitchen in Paekakariki, there is nothing tangible that I can do for the people in Christchurch. Yet there is still much I can do energetically, and that depends on me being as grounded, connected and clear as possible.
- I can maintain my energetic space by being mindful of what I read and watch in the aftermath.
- I can be mindful of my words in conversation about the earthquake so I don’t get sucked in dramatizing the event, gossiping about the event, or otherwise creating unnecessary energy around the event.
- I can hold space in my heart for my family and friends down in Christchurch.
- I can make sure that I’m taking the best care of myself in the ease of my current situation so that I am as strong as possible for those friends and family that might need support.
- And in doing this, I can make myself open and available so when they do call, I’m able to respond with clarity to their needs – both spoken and unspoken.
- Most of all, I can stay clear and tuned in to my inner guidance, so that if and when there is something tangible I can do, I hear that inner prompting and I’m able to act on it with speed and clarity.
Perhaps, most of all, in the wake of the constant shaking Christchurch has experienced since September 2010, and the prediction made of a Wellington earthquake on Waitangi Day this year, I can review my preparation for an earthquake.
That means getting an earthquake kit sorted out. Water. Formula. Nappies. Tinned Food. Cooking equipment. Torches. Plastic bags. Spade. No more just talking about it.
It means being aware of the nature of the landscape I live in:
- How would the house likely shift and move?
- Where’s the safest place in the house?
- Would there be a tsunami?
- Where’s the easiest and safest high point?
- How would I access it?
- How would I carry Samuel?
Just holding this in my awareness and asking these questions now means that if something happens, I don’t have to panic over what to do – my response is automatic and it’s the best option in the circumstances.
In the meantime though, I’m going to take some time in meditation this evening to hold the people of Christchurch in my heart.
Blessings and love to you all.
May you feel the love and support pouring into you from around the globe.
In love & light,