Part 1 ~ Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Freak Out!
I am writing this 3-part series about my feelings and experiences during the recent flooding in Louisiana during August, 2016.
I’ve lived in Louisiana all of my life. As a child, I remember my parents preparing our home and us for Category 3-5 hurricanes such as Audrey, (my mom was 4 months pregnant with me when this one came through Louisiana) Betsy, and Camille. I have little recollection of them other than the lights going out and us helping Momma fill the bathtub and every pot we had with water, getting the coal oil lanterns ready, candles and flashlights in place, the wind howling, and going outside to stand in the ‘eye’ of the hurricane.
50+ years later, in 2016, I am well aware of the weather and the aftermath of the torrential rains that created one of the most devastating weather related events in history causing catastrophic flooding that submerged thousands of homes and businesses. This disaster is defined as a “historic, unprecedented flooding event”. There were 20 Louisiana parishes designated as federal disaster areas by FEMA.
That’s just part of the story that began on August 12. For 48 hours, stationary rains poured down over parts of our state. Accumulations peaked at 31.39 inches in Watson, which is northeast of Baton Rouge. Three times as much rain was dumped on Louisiana than was during Hurricane Katrina according to The Washington Post. The equivalent of 7.1 trillion gallons of water fell on Louisiana. That’s enough to fill Lake Pontchartrain about four times! That’s unimaginable. Until now.
Our family was extremely blessed in that we got the rains and because we’re further north, we did not have flooding. I am eternally grateful for that. The flooding I experienced was on an emotional level and spiritual level. Emotionally, similar to that of the events of 9-1-1, the fear, panic, anxiety, and danger everywhere, I felt helpless to be of service to friends, family, clients, and strangers that I knew were going through so much devastation. I was glued to the TV. I was so grateful for Channel 9 WAFB-TV for continuously broadcasting in the field, on the boats, on the interstate. I prayed and prayed and prayed for everyone’s safety. I was in awe of the courage that so many people displayed in helping to take care of their neighbors. For some, this was the first time they had spoken to each other yet had been neighbors for years.
Should I stay or should I go? One second I wanted to rush in my car and go as far as possible and help. The next second, I was more rational. There were so many rescue vehicles out and about and we were being told, “if you don’t HAVE to be out on the road, please stay home.” Torn. Torn. Torn. My heart and soul ached to help and my logical brain was trying very hard to overrule my emotions, thankfully.
I imagined the people in their homes being told to drop everything and get in the boat. Wanting to turn back and go get their most prized possessions and rescue them too from the flooding waters… absolute surrender. As the boat or Humvee drove away, there was a huge range of emotions as they watched their home get further away from them.
The emotions of those rescued and those waiting to be rescued were overwhelming. The knowing what was heading for your subdivision and the not knowing where you were going when you stepped off the boat caused feelings of vulnerability, abandonment, and downright fear. Worry, horror, and disbelief about their homes, property, ‘contents’ as the flood insurance policy may or may not have included, their family members, animals, vehicles, their health and lives all immediate commonalities among the 10’s of 1000’s of people who were rushed out of their homes as the flood waters came rushing in!
Thousands of the people were going through this terror during the night. They woke up in the middle of the night to go to the restroom and found themselves walking in water having had no idea when they went to sleep that anything even remotely like this flooding could possibly ever happen to them, their home and their community. Many were evacuated from windows and rooftops of their homes. As their senses were on high alert, flight, fright, freeze, or freak out mode, every detail was recorded in their body, mind, and spirit.
The sights…boats driving down what was the highway; the sounds…an eerie silence as the boats traveled to the nearest high ground; the smells…filthy dirty water, gasoline, and the stench of sewage filled their nostrils; their mouths could taste the nastiness of the splashing water and the sweat from their exhausted body. Their feelings were on overload from shock, disbelief, panic, crying, all collapsing into total unknown territory — inside and out.
And even now, more than six weeks later, thousands of these folks are still not able to return to their homes. Some are in shelters, some are living under over passes in the city, others are living with gracious family members and friends. Still, others are living near their ‘home’, eating outside and sleeping on the ground.
This brings up for me so much frustration, fear, empathy, and compassion. Many friends, family, and clients were directly impacted by this flood. My heart aches for them. My mind wondered…If only I had enough money, I could help them have a safe, livable home again. If only we had better drainage systems, maybe the water wouldn’t have hung around so long. Is there any way to avoid this kind of devastation? What can I do to help these people right now? I was unable to get into the city and local towns for many days. It wasn’t until I was certain that I would be able to get in to help AND GET OUT, that I found my way to the shelters to be of service in whatever ways I could.
Thank God I have learned so many healing modalities that have helped me every single day since this flooding and recovery began. Even as fortunate and blessed as I was, I can’t even imagine the state my body, mind, and spirit I would have been in if it were not for these tools that helped me to clear away the flooding of the emotions that were rising and taking over my peace of mind.
As I bring Part 1 to a close, I want to offer you my services. In this time of great need, I know that I can be of service to you and your family. As an interfaith minister, I believe in the power of prayer. As an energy healer, I know the tools that I used can also be of enormous benefit to help my community recover from the inside out. As a Peace Mentor, I know that it is my duty as a human being to do what I can do to help restore peace and calm in the lives of those who are feeling the emotional pains of this devastating flood. You are not alone my friend. Even though you may feel alone and abandoned at times, please know that there are so many people who are here to help you get back on your feet, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I am one of those people. If you would like to have a private one-on-one conversation with me about where you are emotionally, please click this link http://lightenupallover.com/ and use my calendar to schedule a phone or face-to-face appointment with me.
May God’s blessings of peace and comfort, ease and grace, love and light now fill every cell of your body, mind, and spirit. xox