For the last 5 days I had no electricity, as my area was hit by the high winds and heavy rain from hurricane Michael. When the power first went out I waited for a few hours for it to return and went to bed in the dark, thinking it would be on by morning. When it wasn’t, I realized it might be out for a while and I was going to have to change my routine and my life to accommodate this unwelcome, inconvenient, and unwanted change. I did and now that the electricity is back, I realized it was a big lesson in changes, choices, control, and priorities.
It’s funny how you don’t realize how much of your life is run by electricity until it is not working. I had no hot water, no heat or air conditioning, no way to cook, no phone or internet, and no lights. After the sun goes down it is very dark in the house with no artificial light. So I had to get out the candles, flashlights, and lanterns and they provided the light to help me navigate through my house. But I could not do the things I normally do because all of them required electricity.
Changes, especially surprising, unwelcome, and inconvenient ones like having no electricity for several days, demand that we make different choices and change our priorities. Here are some of my thoughts about the shift in priorities and activities with change, and how to stay in control in situations you cannot control.
Is it just me? The first thing I did was to see if my neighbors had electricity, as I wanted to know whether it was just me or if everyone had their lights off. They did, as I discovered after sundown, and every house on my street was dark. When we experience a disruptive change our first thought is to wonder whether it is just happening to us. It is somewhat comforting to know that it is not.
I had to become very strategic about how I spent my time during the day. Some things cannot be done at night, even with candlelight or a flashlight, which lights up a very small space. So I had to plan my activities during the day to make the best use of the daylight hours and save other things for night time.
I went to bed early. There was nothing to do after sundown except read, so I went to bed early and read by flashlight for a while. Now I know why my grandmother used to say they went to bed with the chickens and were up with the roosters in the ‘old days’ before electricity. The weather is getting cooler too, and that was the only warm place in the house.
I had to become very strategic about the use of resources like my phone or computer. My cell phone was my only way of communicating but as I quickly learned, using it drained the battery and then I had to sit in my car and let it charge (which takes a long time). And my computer battery lasted a few hours and then died.
The third day without electricity I found a library in town whose lights were on so I spent the afternoon there charging my phone and sending a few emails. The library was filled with people who also didn’t have electricity and were there to charge their devices so I met some nice people and had some interesting conversations.
I had to be creative to solve problems. My stove is electric so I could not use it but I have a gas grill outside that uses propane. I used it occasionally this summer but now it became my source to heat water for coffee, tea, and for bathing, and to cook my meals. Luckily it didn’t rain while my power was out but it was cold in the mornings when I went out to heat water for my morning coffee. And I had to cook my dinner before sundown or I would not be able to see anything.
And to minimize food loss, I cooked what was defrosting in the freezer to not waste too much food. I didn’t go hungry, although it was inconvenient to cook outside.
And I could choose to use cold water for bathing or heat water on the grill and use that. I dislike cold water baths so I chose to heat the water outside and although it was much more complicated than turning on a hot water tap, it reminded me of when I was very young and lived in my grandmother’s ancient house in France and we had no running hot water. My earliest memory of that house was a huge pot of simmering hot water that always sat on the stove, as this was our source of hot water.
I got things done that I had been putting off because I had no spare time. Without the distractions of the internet, phone, and computer, I had a lot of time to do other things. So I painted my living room and upstairs hall, did some re-organizing, hung pictures on the walls, refinished a table, and completed some other house projects. All during daylight hours, of course. Then I worked on writing and other things on my computer at night, until the battery died.
I saw a lot of stars in the sky. Since my entire part of town was without electricity there was no light pollution so there were a lot more stars visible at night than normal. I spent some time outside after dark looking at the sky and enjoying the beautiful stars.
There were things I could not control so I had to change my priorities. I could not control when the electricity would be available again, that the food in my refrigerator was going to spoil if the power did not return soon, that it would be very dark in my house after sundown, that none of my electrical appliances would work, and that I could not follow my normal routine.
Now I knew that life would return to normal once the power was restored but in the meantime, I had to be very strategic about my priorities so I could manage my life around the circumstances that I had to deal with. It would serve no useful purpose to do nothing and wait around for the lights to turn on, or to not get organized for mealtimes so I wasn’t sitting in the dark eating crackers or chips instead of something more substantial and filling. Or to not find a place with electricity so I could charge my phone and computer.
Now that my electricity has returned I am using my modern appliances that make life so convenient with a new sense of appreciation. I do like being able to have a working stove and refrigerator, to turn on the lights after sundown, and to be able to recharge my phone and computer at will.
Sometimes change happens in life and we need to address it by shifting our priorities, making the best use of what we have, not regretting what we don’t have, and to become strategic with our priorities to manage the circumstances. We can’t always be in control of events but we can learn to control our lives even in the midst of situations we cannot control. Getting depressed and being scared are OK in small doses but eventually we have to accept the situation, face the facts, and make choices, and act on them, so our lives continue to move forward until the chaos has gone away and we can establish something more normal, easy, and in our high vibes energy flow.