Anybody else love Neil Young as much as I do? He is my all time favorite musician. The Grateful Dead are a very close second. I was listening recently, and this song, “Like a hurricane” came on. I have always loved this one, but it took on a new meaning when I started thinking about it, rather than as a lovely tribute from one individual to another, but instead as addressing each and every one of us. Because truly, we all DO have a calm place inside of us, the eye of the storm so to speak, no matter what kind of hurricane, typhoon, or other shit show might be going on around us. Sometimes it is really difficult to see, feel, or know that this calm eye still exists, especially when the storms of our lives get really intense or complicated. But we must remember that it is always there, always available to us, this refuge from the storm, this place of peaceful stillness. And then we can train ourselves to easily enter in.
Cancer can be a particularly difficult storm to navigate, with so many different waves of challenge coming at us from all directions. From the shock of the diagnosis, to the fear of the unknown, to the physical challenge of all of the treatment, to the mental and emotional upheaval, to worry about our families and our livelihoods, and the ever-present concern for our futures and more, being diagnosed with cancer truly is a freaking hurricane. But we don’t have to let ourselves get swept away. Importantly, we also don’t have to run away from this storm, forever trying to hide underneath something, getting as far away as we can, or just blocking it out. Nor do we need to exert tons of energy trying to fight against its relentless power. Instead, we can learn to find and tune in to our own calm center, even in the midst of the storm. Just like in the movies, where they drop cameras down into the eye of the violent twister and find a place of unbelievable stillness, we too can drop in. We can allow ourselves to just BE in the midst of our situation, without straining against it, without trying to stop the winds, and instead just settling in to our own tranquil center.
We can use so many tools to help us get there, like our breath, our meditation, and our yoga practices, which all train us to more easily drop in to this inner space, where we find peace, comfort, rest, and rejuvenation. And the great thing is that we can use these practices over and over again, as much as we need them. Because the truth is that these storms often flare up again, and we might again begin to get blown off track. This is completely normal and part of the experience, but as we gain more proficiency with our tools, it is easier and easier to catch ourselves and drop back in.
And it is from this place of calm stillness that we can find clarity, courage, strength, ease, and joy, regardless of what is going on outside or how difficult our challenges might be. So in this brilliantly poetic imagery from Neil Young, take a deep breath, look deeply at yourself, and see that you may be like a hurricane, but that there is always calm in your eye.
ps Please don’t mind my dirty feet! It had been raining this day and the patio was all wet. You can see Vato looks a little dirty too, but he tried to scoot out of the picture! 😉