Being in the Whirlwind
Do you feel as if you’re in a whirlwind? Not long ago, one of my teachers suggested that what I had been experiencing was a kind of whirlwind. I had felt it! So much swirling — in my own life, and around me in the lives of my clients, my family, my friends and colleagues, and the world.
Whirlwinds are uncomfortable to say the least. When everything is whirling, nothing feels stable or secure. You can also be sure that when the whirling stops, nothing will look the same.
The whirling is everywhere. The storms in some places are literal. Europe just experienced record hurricane force winds twice in the space of three days. Solar storms disrupted and destroyed a large number of satellites less than a month ago.
The whirlwinds most of us are experiencing, however, are far more than environmental — they’re physical, environmental, social, political, personal, and more.
The whirlwinds of war and change
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a microcosm of the kinds of whirlwinds that are blowing the world over. On the one hand, you have the old top-down structures represented by the dictator who thought he could overrun a sovereign nation with complete impunity.
On the other hand, the whirlwind caused by those actions has given rise to a new whirlwind produced by the power of the people. From grandmothers to children, to teachers, to every day people on the streets saying no, to one man trying to hold back a tank with his own body, people are saying no to the whirlwinds of tyranny.
And it’s not just the people of Ukraine. The world over, you see movements of people gathering together to stand up to oppression.
This whirlwind has also united Europe, but it has done more than that. Unlikely allies have risen. China, for example, has come out against the war. Even Switzerland has taken a stand for the Ukrainian people. Power structures are shifting. The winds of change are blowing strong.
How are you choosing to frame your whirlwinds?
But make no mistake. This whirling is also causing a lot of disruption and suffering. It is costly to the Ukrainians, whose cities, countryside, businesses and livelihoods are being destroyed. It is also costly to the Russian people who, by and large, do not support this invasion. Even knowing that demonstrations are dangerous and will be put down with force, large numbers of Russian people have taken to the streets. And the growing sanctions are causing and will cause a devastating toll to ordinary Russians.
The whirling has some positive outcomes as well. Covid rates are coming down enough that restrictions are being lifted. People are coming together in groups much more safely than in more than two years. Even that has its whirling, as we connect and reconnect in new ways.
No matter where you live in the world, there is no getting away from at least some effects of the whirlwinds. It may be health, whether physical, mental, and/or spiritual. It may be work, or a fundamental shift in your values, for example.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve had my own whirlwind. When Covid hit, I was already in the middle of shifting out of traveling to teach in-person classes twice a month to a more sustainable schedule. I was also moving into teaching more of my own work. Last year, I also had a long illness and recovery, which impacted both my practice and teaching. Like so many of you, I have been experiencing both the unraveling of the old, and the birth of the new. The swirling has sometimes been intense.
Being in the whirlwind
The whirlwind can initially feel disorienting. It’s scary, partly because you don’t know how things are going to look on the other side. It can feel chaotic, and disruptive.
So how do you deal with the whirlwind? This brings me back to my conversation with my teacher. He asked me, “How about being in the whirlwind, rather than resisting it?” Then he invited me to simply sit in the whirlwind. Once I stopped resisting the whirlwind, I felt much less buffeted by all those winds.
As I sat with it a little longer, the image changed for me. Instead of being in the whirlwind, I found myself in a hurricane instead. Not only that, but as I dropped all resistance, I actually found myself in the calm eye at the center. From that place, I could even find and see glimpses of joy and some of the blessings coming out of this whirlwind.
How will you move with the winds?
Friends, the winds of change are here, and they’re buffeting all of us. Each of us is in the midst of one or more whirlwinds. Like it or not, that’s also not going to change any time soon.
Resisting is not going to stop the winds. In fact, resistance will just exhaust you, take away your strength and power to make the shifts that are necessary, and keep you from finding joy and peace and freedom.
Instead, I invite you to the same practice that my teacher invited me to. Just be in the whirlwind. Don’t resist it. And don’t give it too much power either.
Yes, the winds themselves are powerful and are bringing change, but I encourage you to find the calm center — the eye of the hurricane, if you will.
That is the place of strength and power. It’s the place of calm, peace, and centeredness. It’s also the place where you can find glimpses, and more, of joy and freedom.
What’s more, that is the place from which you can plan and prepare for when the winds stop, as they will eventually. Last but not least, the eye of the hurricane is the place from which you can act when the winds have calmed down enough to take the next steps, whatever they may be, as we shift into the new.
If you are new to my blogs I have shared a number of practical resources for finding and staying in your center in other blog posts. If you would like some personal support for dealing with your own whirlwind(s), I have some spots open for individual work. Here is the link for more information. I have clients from all over the world, and I would love to explore how I can help you.