Monday, May 11, 2009

You are Not Your Stuff......... Lessons Learned from the Santa Barbara Fires of 08 & 09

I live in Santa Barbara
and we were fortunate
not to have any fire damage
or even have to evacuate
during this recent disaster.

Many of our friends had short
notice to leave their homes and
some were forced to leave the
general area due to air quality.

There has been a great deal of news about
the Santa Barbara fires over this past week.
My husband kept me posted while I was in
Israel and Palestine last week. There is chatter
on his networks, part of the Montecito Association
and my business and women's networks.

We have stayed in touch!

Who got evacuated, how long it took, when it came..... 2am, 4pm, "just minutes after I told someone we were fine" is what our dear friend Marlys Boehm told me. Gene and I did not have to evacuate and we again feel fortunate that our lives were not disturbed much.

We have other friends who did lose their homes during the Gap and Tea Fires of 2008
and now during the Jesusita Fire. The attached is a photo taken by AP of a friends home,. Hers was miraculously was spared but the smoke and the fear associated with a disaster of this type lingers for a long long time.

Plenty of people are dislocated and suffering right now in Santa Barbara.....large and small homes, old and new, those in the fire's path were not spared. Makes you think, doesn't it?

Those of us not seriously affected are counting our blessings and doing what we can to help those who were. Anita Chambers PhD, another dear friend and client of mine reminded me that She is Not her Stuff...... she sent a message around to all that as she was forced to pack up her car and decide which things were essential, she was reminded that "things" while precious can almost always be replaced and are not the essence of her life.

She said " It's so nice to hear that all of us are safe and were fortunate in not losing our homes in this fire. Having been evacuated for 5 days during the Gap fire, my heart goes out to everyone who had to go through that process. It is gut wrenching to exist in that unknown of whether you have a place to go back to or not.

With that I'd like to share something that I learned in my only evacuation scenario. I learned that the experience may be harrowing, but at the same time it's a wonderful opportunity to really get clear that "you are not your stuff." I don't know a more eloquent way of saying that. But anyone who's just experienced it probably understands that when you have to choose the most important things that you have, that will also fit in your car, it's a wonderful opportunity to realize that your own greatness comes from "who you are" not "what you have," and no fire can take away "who you are." "

Good reminders to me...... to count my blessings daily.

Thank you firefighters and to all the volunteers who helped in the Santa Barbara disasters....and to all the friends who reached out to offer support.

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