Forgive me if you feel as if I am telling you something you already know. My true intention is to remind you of what you are likely to forget. While life swirls chaotically around you right now with great speed and intensity, it will feel as if taking a breath is impossible. It will feel as if the place where your calm resides is far away and unattainable. But know that these are only feelings. For the truth is your calm is where you left it. Your calm is waiting for your return.
As you provide help in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in Nepal, please remember to take the occasional moment to return to your calm. Over 8,000 have lost their lives and we know that number will increase as time continues to pass and more stories are revealed. The sights and smells of the destruction around you are horrific and will remain in your memory forever. The stories survivors tell are unbelievable and yet you see the truth in their trembling restraint as they share. You see the emotion welling behind their eyes and know that this is where the real story resides. The stories of grief, sorrow, loss and fear will be at times too much to bear and yet, you will continue to listen because you must.
In such chaos where human suffering reigns paramount and is achingly perceptible in all senses, taking a breath and finding your calm becomes your last priority. No matter how much is given, more is needed. Everyone doing their part and giving all they have to give. Sleep and self-care are being sacrificed and adrenaline has become your primary source of nourishment. The days and nights now run into one another with few distinguishing moments.
The sheer number of things that must be done will force you to pause but not so you can find that moment of calm you need. You pause only so you can rethink the ever-evolving priorities and needs that require your attention. You pause because you are overwhelmed and wonder how you will get it all done. You pause to wipe away the tears that blur your vision and slow you down. Family and friends at home may feel forgotten but they have to know they are not. You simply do not have the time or energy to communicate that all is well. And besides, that would be a lie.
To you who are finding in yourself creativity and strength you did not know you possessed, please remember that it is in the midst of such chaos when taking pause and finding your calm is the most critical. Finding time with team members and sharing what has been witnessed. Knowing that somewhere, underneath the lack of sleep, the adrenaline rush, and the haze there is that place where a breath can be had. To those who may feel like you can’t give enough, to those who are now living in complete chaos, know that your calm may seem far away but it is in fact it where it has always been: deep within and it only takes a moment to go there.
Please remember that it is ok to take these moments as you give of yourself. To take these moments to breathe and find the beauty that remains. It is in the eyes of those around you. It is in their tears and their laughter. The beauty is in the colors of the sky and the clouds above you. It is found on the ground you are walking on and in the flowers that have also survived. Remember to take these moments to breathe and to find your calm. You are important, your work essential and we are with you in spirit.