December 2012 Publisher's Letter
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon HillAccording to Jack Canfield, motivational speaker and author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, “We’re one humanity and we’re all in this together.” Never more poignantly is that illustrated than during times of natural disaster, like hurricane Sandy, where the sheer audacity of Mother Nature’s rant yielded such widespread devastation.
We were lucky for this one, watching it unfold from afar. But it hasn’t been that many years since hurricane Katrina, which touched our lives more deeply. Growing up in the South, with family scattered throughout the Gulf Coast states, hurricanes were an accepted part of life. Most storms we weathered and for a few, we evacuated.
My parents always made light of the storms so not to scare me, and consequently my childhood memories of hurricanes are filled with ice cream floats, candle-lit sleepovers, neighborhood parties and impromptu trips, juxtaposed with howling winds, the eerie calm of the storm’s eye, impassable streets, upturned trees, storm debris and the incredible crystal clear blue skies of the morning after.
It’s funny what the mind retains. One of my uncles chose to ride out hurricane Katrina in his waterfront home. He was one of the lucky ones on his block, because the row of homes next to him was totally washed away. The devastation along the Gulf Coast and New Orleans was shocking, as are the pictures of the East Coast in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy. Our hearts go out to the many who have been displaced, lost loved ones and precious things and whose lives have been disrupted and holidays spent restoring their lives. Take a moment to hold them in your thoughts or lend support by contributing time, money or resources to help others.
Like birds that sing after a storm, there is a clarity of spirit that shows up in the presence of disaster—courage, compassion and coming together to help each other carry on also follow a storm. It’s nature’s way of breaking down the barriers between us, so we can see the strength of our togetherness, to recognize we have more in common than not and to explore a deeper side of what it means to be human. Carl Big Heart, a trusted mentor and Native American elder, once said that we are all spirit in the flesh, and that if we take away the flesh, we are one spirit.
I’m left wondering that if catastrophes bring about opportunities to awaken the spirit, what would life look like if the awakening happened without the disasters. Read more about this idea and the evolution of consciousness in the world, in our feature, “It’s All About We.” Then, for some clever ways to bring consciousness into the holidays, see “Mindful Holiday Traditions and Homemade and Heartfelt.”