After the Storm

I love fresh herbs. I think they make just about every dish taste better. In the summer, I grow basil, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme. When it comes to basil and oregano, the more, the better.

Oregano, whose scent and taste always transport me back to my childhood in Greece, grows with abundance. I use it fresh and also dry some to have through the year.

I grow basil right outside the kitchen, on the deck, and I keep seeds going throughout the season. We love pesto in this house. I make as much as I can through the summer and always freeze some for winter. If you would like to freeze pesto, you can. Just don’t add cheese to the batch you want to freeze.

A couple of weeks ago, the basil seedlings I had started earlier were ready to be planted outside.

Then hurricane Henri formed and started heading in our direction.

As the warnings began to intensify, I became worried about the plants. They were predicting heavy rain and strong winds. I decided to cut the basil back and make some pesto.

The new seedlings looked small and tender. I was not sure how they would fare with the storm. Bringing the planter into the house was not an option. I decided to let it be.

It is now Monday morning. It has been raining for more than 24 hours. It will continue to rain on and off throughout the day. Fortunately, strong winds never materialized over the weekend. As I stood by the kitchen window, watching the stream in the backyard raging and overflowing its boundaries, I looked at the box with the basil seedlings.

The plants are double in size and are standing tall. They look beautiful. Not only did they make it through the rainstorm, but they are also thriving.

The young basil plants made me think of how not all storms are created equal and not all plants wither and die in a storm.

Even the most tender of plants can make it through a storm like the one that came through. Human beings are very much like plants.

There are storms that we can see coming. We prepare for their impact. When the storm hits, we are ready to cope with it.

Sometimes we are forewarned about an approaching storm. We begin to worry and brace for the worst and, it never materializes.

Other times, storms arrive out of nowhere and catch us unawares. Still, we do the best we can to weather the storm.

Some storms move slowly. Some carry the wrath of nature and pass swiftly. The force of impact depends on timing, season, locality, various conditions, and luck.

Not all storms happen for a reason. Some of them make no sense. Sometimes we get hit and left vulnerable. Healing can be slow and challenging.

Some storms knock us off our feet. Before we know it, we are up and running. Not only did we survive the storm, but we learned to thrive despite it and maybe even because of it.

Storms are tricky. They come and go. Often, they leave destruction behind them. A storm teaches us that, hard as we may prepare, we have no control over how a storm will decide to behave. Like everything else in life, outcomes are elusive.

Nevertheless, how we navigate a storm is important and pretty much under our control.

I know you too have navigated many storms, some stronger than others.

When you look at the storms you have weathered so far, what do you see? What have you learned about yourself?

How have the storms of your life changed you? What are some of your tendencies? Is there anything you would like to do differently?

For example:

  • Do you tend to worry too much? Would you like to worry less and trust more?
  • Do you tend to ignore warnings of approaching storms?
  • Is control an issue for you? Do you find it challenging to reach out and ask for help?
  • Do you look at the storms you’ve weathered so far and appreciate how you’ve grown because of them?
  • Do you give yourself the credit you deserve or do you tend to underestimate yourself?
  • Do you blame yourself for things that are way beyond your control?
  • Do you trust yourself and your decision-making ability?
  • Can you forgive yourself when you make a mistake or when things don’t work out as planned?
  • Can you accept what is and use it to inform your next step?

Choose the question you would like to explore further. You can journal and see what comes up for you. You can keep it in the forefront of your mind, go for a walk or a hike, or sit with it quietly. Insights and answers will bubble up.

If you would like to talk about it, I am one email away. You can reach me via my Contact page.

Some journeys take place in the dark.
We can’t see where we are going, but we give ourselves to the experience of going and learn by going where we need to go.
Call it daring. Call it necessity.
Call it simple faith.

Gunilla Norris

It is now late afternoon. The stream in the back yard has retreated and is flowing within its banks again. There is some clean-up work to be done. Thankfully, no trees came down, we did not lose power, and all is back to normal. The basil delivered the much-needed inspiration for this post. I am grateful I was there and present to receive it.

What are you noticing? What is vying for your attention? Take a moment and share your thoughts in the comment section below.

As a life coach and retreat leader, Yota works with women seeking clarity, inspiration, and purpose in the midst of life changes. Her approach is intuitive and deeply influenced by her cultural roots, work and life experience, and her long-term practice of mindfulness meditation.

2 Comments

  • Linda Samuels

    Amazing how your basil seedlings thrived despite the storm and heavy rain! As I read your beautiful thoughts about storms, how they arrive, and how we respond to them, one word kept surfacing…resilience. When I see storms that others have experienced and then think about my own, I am comforted and inspired by the human spirit’s ability to grow, adapt, and move forward.

    I also thought about something my mom used to say to me. She would say, “Linda, you’re a good coper. I never worry about you.” I used to think about that as a positive, but there came a time in my life where I felt it was a burden. It was almost as if she was saying that she knew I could cope, so no problem or challenge would ever be too much for me. Or, no challenge was ever too terrible. In a way, it dismissed the validity of the challenges or storms.

    At this point, I recognize that she was half right. I do cope well in the face of difficulties. And I am able to shoulder a lot. But that doesn’t mean I’m not affected. It doesn’t mean my challenges are insignificant or less worthy. And it doesn’t mean that I experience them without feeling deeply what’s transpiring.

    So I lean into the storms. I try to leave worry on the sidelines when possible. I have confidence that I will be able to cope and weather what comes my way. But I also give myself time and space to feel, grieve, and adjust.

    • Yota Schneider

      Dear Linda,

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your insights.

      I too was amazed at how well the young basil plants stood up to the storm. I am happy that they did and grateful for the inspiration they provided me with.

      I can relate to your experience as a “good coper.” It’s a blessing and a curse. The messages and expectations that get placed on us can become an added challenge. I admire your resilience and strength but also your willingness to recognize your vulnerability and open up to it. I know this doesn’t happen easily. There are many who struggle with this issue.

      When we are young, we are susceptible to the messages and interpretations of other people. The irony is that some of these messages are meant to be a compliment.

      With time, the messages can become conditioning and there comes a point when we don’t know where we stop and others begin. It takes strength, determination, discipline, and a good dose of luck and inspiration in order to let go of the baggage and trace our steps back to ourselves. Seems to me you have done a really good job coming home.

      Being strong and able to cope and manage does not mean we don’t feel anguish, fear, or doubt. Good copers too need a hug and a shoulder to lean on, from time to time.

      Thank you for this important reminder.

      Big hugs ❤️

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