Weather model predictions show the eye of Hurricane Sandy glaring directly across Philadelphia… so we’ve been diligent in our preparations:
- Brownies baked. Check.
- Bottled water, batteries, nuts, and bronze hair color for late night candle-lit entertainment purchased. Check.
- Kitty carriers set up. Check.
- All electronics fully charged, mass of white cords balled together for transport. Check.
- Little baggies of water frozen into ice packs. Check.
- Toy mice stuffed with fresh catnip. Check.
- Suitcase packed, based on answers to questions I’ve never asked myself before (does one wear pajamas at a shelter??). Check.
Yet something still felt unready to me. Physical needs were all addressed… but … the rest of me? Not so much.
I needed a security blanket. The *something* that whispers in the midst of a literal or figurative storm that “it’ll be ok, my dear. It is already and always will be ok.”
I needed my journal(s). My writing pens (Pilot G-2 07, in blue. yes, I have pen issues). My Rumi poetry collections. My Kindle (til the battery runs out). My brilliant colors of drawing pens.
Comfort I can intake. Comfort I can ex-take (aka “express”).
That’s what creative activity can do for us — ANY of us — in ANY “hurricane” situation. It gives us a way to make sense of what’s happening. It gives us a way to be with the discomfort and a way to take a break from it when it gets too intense to handle.
A mind bathed in color loses its grip on fear.
A hand swirling ink across a page releases pent up nervous steam.
Fingers flying on a keyboard let you look your storm in the eye without it eroding your entire emotional coastline.
Words expressed as humor force out that breath you’ve been holding.
Like this email from my brother this morning: “What do you call a mollusk on the beach waiting for Hurricane Sandy to arrive? The clam before the storm, of course.”
So maybe it’s time to upgrade your storm preparedness kit — whether your current seas are calm or wreaking havoc inland. Food, water, batteries … and art stuff.