(In light of the recent Clayton fire, I'm reposting this blog because so many more in our community will now be experiencing traumatic response to the event. As well, those of us still recovering from the valley fire maybe re-traumatized.)
Is there anyone you know in our community that wasn't affected by the #ValleyFire in the Fall of 2015? Not only was most (if not all) of our community affected, but so many more beyond were touched by the intensity and immensity of the fire. The affected community seems to include the whole world when you consider acts of kindness and generosity.
From a mindfulness perspective, the broadness of impact points to one of the many reasons we bring a compassionate attitude to ourselves and others. If not a fire, then some other painful situation or loss will occur in everyone's life. No one is exempt. And while there are many differing degrees of impact for each community member here in Lake County, we all respond to disasters on a physical, emotional, spiritual and cognitive level.
As those that gave move on with their lives (generosity graciously appreciated!), there are those of us still dealing with the aftermath in some way or another. This many months after, we may be questioning our response and our ability to navigate through our lives at this time.
What determines our reaction? There are so many contributing factors including age, past trauma experience, the degree to which we experienced the disaster, our social supports, the tools we have for working with emotions, and more. While there isn't a one-response-fits-all formula, my recent work with the California H.O.P.E. team in Lake County helps me understand some common patterns of reaction. My experience and research with mindfulness and compassion practices helps me know that these tools, in particular, can assist us in recovering more resiliently, which aids our whole community in bouncing back from this disaster.