‘Twas the Evening Before Halloween

The snow began falling early afternoon, on the Saturday before Halloween. By early evening we had lost electricity.

Sunday morning, we woke up to an altered landscape. We took a ride in search of hot tea and coffee and as we drove through town, we couldn’t believe our eyes. There were trees split in half, lying on snow-covered lawns. The roads, sidewalks, and open spaces were covered with broken branches and fallen trees.

The snowstorm came unexpectedly and hit hard. The temperature dropped sharply before the trees had the chance to prepare for winter. The weight of the wet, heavy snow proved too much to bear and the trees fell.

The big crab apple tree in our front yard had bowed all the way to the ground. The magnolia that the girls and Neal had planted for me, as a Mother’s Day present, was lying broken by the stream in the backyard. The sturdy branch on which the girls’ tire swing has been hanging for the last ten years, broke right above the joint that the rope was tied.

Sometimes change hits hard and all we can do is go with it. It’s been only a little over two months since Irene hit and we find ourselves coping with similar conditions, much colder temperatures, and a tougher recovery.

It’s Halloween. I’m sitting at our local coffee shop, writing this. My daughters are at a friend’s house for the evening, where there’s power, warmth, and comfort. My husband and I chose to stay home. I made chicken soup on our grill outside and toasted some bread to have with it. We came to Starbucks to have hot chocolate, charge our phones and computers, and write. People around me are here for the same reasons. We look at each other and smile. People bond over circumstances like this.

I can’t help but reflect on the process of change and transition. Change happens, sometimes gradually, slowly, over a period of time and other times suddenly, powerfully, and undeniably. Sometimes we see it coming and often we initiate it. When it finally arrives, we embark on the journey of transition the best we can.

When change strikes out of the blue though or it catches us unprepared, the impact can be quite dramatic. How well we go through transition, depends greatly on our level of preparation and mental attitude.

Whether we like it or not, we wished for it or not, change will test us. It will test our faith, our resolve, and our resourcefulness. It will test the beliefs we hold dear and the rules we live by. It will force us to question everything we take for granted. The transition that follows change, is a journey of personal transformation; an initiation process into a different state of being.

As I look at the broken, fallen trees I wonder . . . will they recover? Will they bounce back to their original shape? How will the once-familiar landscape of our town look like come spring? I really don’t know. I have no way of knowing how nature will proceed or how the trees will respond to this transformation. All I can do is wait for nature to take its course.

I’m sad to see them lying broken. I’m worried about the future, but my responsibility is to focus on what demands my attention in the present moment. Everything slows down when something this drastic happens. We’re forced to pay close attention to details we may have previously taken for granted and be truly mindful.

Change is not meant to break us – although it may feel like it at times. It’s meant to polish our perception and powers of attention. Step by step, it leads us through the dark tunnel of uncertainty and insecurity and all the way to the other side, a side we never thought existed.

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

    Yota, what a beautiful, inspiring post – both the pictures and the words moved me. I especially love your phrase, "Change happens, sometimes gradually, slowly, over a period of time and other times suddenly, powerfully and undeniably." This is so true. There's the shock and not knowing what will be. But in that also can come tremendous growth. We can only hope. I also love how you wove in the ideas about change, nature, uncertainty and inner strength. Thank you for sharing these beautiful thoughts.

  • Yota Schneider

    Thank you for stopping by Linda:-)I deeply appreciate your insights and thoughtful sharing. Yes, hope is what keeps us going at all times. We may not recognize it right away but hope is a grounding force and a voice whispering . . . "keep trying, keep moving, you can do this, it will all be well somehow".
    Have a warm, sunny weekend. Enjoy!

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