LIVE IN LOVE: A Catastrophe By: Erin Cummings
February is a hard month for me.
Two years ago on February 15, 2019, my dad was in a horrific motorcycle accident that left him in a medically induced coma, with heart, kidney, and lung failure. His helmet flew off, and it was a miracle he had no brain or major spinal injury.
The short story, he was on his motorcycle on a back rode in the middle of no where about an hour and a half from his home, when he slipped on grass clippings, lost control, and flew off his bike. None of us know how long he was on the side of the rode by himself, but a stranger (who doesn’t even live in Texas) happened to drive by and my dad happened to be awake. They called me. A helicopter picked him up and flew him to a downtown Houston hospital, and for the next 30 days he was in a life or death state. After 72 days in the hospital and a rebuilt elbow and wrist, my dad left the hospital alive against all odds. He is the GOAT of YOLT….If you need the definition: The Greatest Of All Time of You Only Live Twice, in my opinion.
Sometimes these moments teach you to live in love with your life, to be grateful for what you have, and to challenge the absolute hell out of you.
Fast-forward to February 15, 2021: Day 1 of the epic winter storm that shut down Texas, and almost imploded the Texas Power Grid.
So how do you live in love and redirect yourself to joy when your father is intubated and hooked up to a high intensity ventilation machine that uses nitrous oxide? Or, when you’ve been without power for 30+ hours and can’t use your fireplace because you’re scared of getting carbon monoxide poisoning?
Hope. The only way is to have the audacity to have hope. (And a really good fucking therapist.) I also want to be very clear, I'm not speaking on how to get out of the situation, how to warm yourself up, how to change your circumstances. I'm talking about your inner dialogue and what you can do from keeping your soul from crawling into a total pit of despair. This is about where mindset can create action.
The problem is that time goes on, and when you are in catastrophe time seems to stand completely still. It’s like you get lost in the woods and the only way out is to find your north star and start to take small actions to get back on your path. But because telling people to have hope is basically the equivalent of JLO telling us she eats salmon and drinks a lot of water for her skin to have that glow..it’s worthy of the best Erin Cummings Eye Roll that you can get.
However, if you can set your vision to the north star of hope, it’s at least something. What’s next are small actions…what are those small actions? They are 3 things you do every single day, and they can change. But, they are 3 things that keep you going that you concretely do every single day, and you do them probably without even knowing it. Or, you’ve set your life up so that you can do these 3 things daily.
During my dad’s hospital stay every day: 1) meditated, 2) did something creative - I carried a journal and watercolor kit to the hospital, and 3) I wore the same pair of black mid height Golden Goose sneakers
During the winter storm: 1) moved my body (whether it was going on a walk, stretching, or playing in the snow, I created mindful body movement), 2) did something creative or help create inspiration (read a book, made a new recipe, etc), and 3) I got ready every day (we still had water, and I did my skincare routine and changed my clothes).
While these three things aren’t big, they are vital to getting you back to whatever path you are on. These three things help you function at the core of your being and these three things will help you fuel your hope.
It’s not “cheer up, things could be worse.” It is “have hope, so you know where you are going.”