I was attending the opening retreat for the Priestess of the Dove Oracle training in Petaluma. When I returned from training, Mom and Dad were coming to Charleston and Mom and I were having a girls’ weekend in Saint Simon Island to celebrate my birthday. It was a trip we had planned well before I had decided to participate in the training. I was excited, about all of it.
In June, I had decided to continue on with this Level II 6-month training. Marguerite Rigoglioso, the founder of Seven Sisters Mystery School, teacher of the course and one of my spiritual mentors, describes it as a PhD program. Attending the retreat is a requirement to become certified along with many hours of play work each week.
I knew this training would inform my energy healing practice and help me and everyone I work with in new ways. I had been dreaming about meeting all of the teachers and participants in person since I signed up.
In Charleston, we had begun to hear about Hurricane Irma as early as August 30th. The Post and Courier's headlines from September 2nd read “Hurricane Irma continues to move west, but impact on South Carolina and East Coast still unknown” and “Post-Harvey problems plague Texas as funerals for dead begin.” Across the country, it seemed, people were talking about and dealing with hurricanes.
I was particularly aware of Hurricane Harvey as many of my family and friends live in and around Houston. I had been in close contact with many of them for the duration, some were heavily impacted, and my sister shared this blog post written by one of her college friends.
On September 6th, the day began by dropping my daughter off at school and looking at The Post and Courier’s headlines, “As Hurricane Irma looms, Charleston area hospice patients and families face a difficult decision” and “Shelves empty fast at some stores in Charleston ahead of Hurricane Irma.”
This was beginning to feel more serious. Then Mom called me to touch base and began our conversation with, “This hurricane is a concern.” I contacted Marguerite to give her a heads-up that things were getting complicated fast. I called my husband to alert him to the changing conditions.
Around mid-morning I began to grasp the realization that my carefully considered, well-laid out plans were being re-written right before my eyes. What was being asked of me was to stay present and be aware for the duration of this storm.
It was right after I filled up my gas tank at Costco, other near-by stations were already out of gas, and was contemplating whether or not I wanted to join all of Charleston inside buying bottled water when a dear friend checked in. She was concerned about my family in Houston and now about us in Charleston.
She sent me pictures of her kids and of their summer vacation as a diversion. It worked. One picture was of her two beautiful, gorgeous children on their first day back to school. Another one was of her daughter cutting onions while wearing goggles, a time-tested cooking technique I am familiar with myself, as well as some pictures from their summer vacation in Maine. My breath caught. Among them was this picture of…
I cried as I bought water and food and ran into friends and neighbors around town. I cried as I called people and people called me to talk about what was going on. I cried after I spoke to my Mom and asked her to cancel our trip. I cried when checking on a dear friend who lives in Miami. I cried as my husband was booking a hotel in case evacuation was necessary. I cried when I read the words my Dad wrote me. I cried when later on, a Priestess sister sent me a beautiful prayer. I cried as I emailed Marguerite to ask her if I could continue with the course even if I could not attend the retreat.
After checking Irma’s projected track at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday morning and seeing it was a Category 3 heading straight for Charleston, I cried as I woke my husband up at 5:30 a.m. to tell him I had decided to stay with him and our children for the duration of Irma so that we could face whatever She brought us, together. I cried when I went to the Delta counter at the Charleston International Airport that morning and spoke to Glenda. I cried as I told her that I had checked in for my flight the night before but I could not get on the plane because there was a hurricane coming, I knew I would be delayed getting back, and what if my family needed me. I cried as I drove to Costco to fill up my gas tank, for the second time in a day.
This time around, I decided to go inside Costco. I needed three things. With puffy eyes that you don’t want anyone to see, I ran into my neighbor as I was filling up my cart with the three things AND yummy hurricane casseroles that were not on my list. He was also preparing for the storm. He asked how I was doing.
I started with, “I was meant to be getting on a plane to California right now…” and I started crying, again. I apologized but continued telling him about my own personal storm. He looked slightly uncomfortable but listened and finally smiled and said, “It’s OK, you feel on the outside how I feel on the inside,” and then he gave me a hug.
He hugged me with my puffy eyes and unwashed body and all. With his kindness and acceptance of my messy state, my own personal storm marked with 24 hours of continuous crying, waned and trickled and mostly subsided before Irma even arrived in Charleston.
Finding peace during my personal storm was facilitated by staying present and receiving the Love and kindness that flowed to me from people everywhere. My family, friends, neighbors and my Priestess sisterhood. I am the lucky one. Thank you. I am forever grateful.