Monday, November 21, 2011

11/21/11—Rebuilding After Disaster

Today's Draw: The Tower from the Crystal Visions. Have you ever experienced a profound loss that shook your life to its core? How did you approach rebuilding? What sprung up in its wake?

The Tower is one of the most dreaded and misunderstood cards in the tarot. And why wouldn't it be? Foreboding clouds. Lightning. Fire. Collapse. Crashing waves. Utter destruction. Even the birds are leaving to find friendlier conditions. 

But the message of the tower is that, when everything falls and turns to dust, there's an opportunity to rebuild on a more solid foundation. And although I'm talking about the disastrous effects of The Tower in this entry, it's important to note that, as a reader, I also consider births and marriages and other joyous events to be Tower moments. Good or bad, a Tower moment destroys the old way of being and leaves the opportunity to create myriad new ways of being in its place.

In October of 1871, a fire started in a small barn in the city of Chicago. But the time the fire was quenched, four square miles of a thriving city were leveled and hundreds were dead. It wasn't that the city was built irresponsibly in the first place, necessarily. It was that it was built in naivety, favoring wood over other building materials. And it was also circumstance, happening after a long drought on a day when there were strong winds—the whole situation was a cocktail for disaster.

Imagine a city in the 1800s, robbed of 73 miles of roads, 17,000 buildings and one-third of its entire material value as a city. How do you ever come back from a disaster where 90,000 of your 300,000 inhabitants are left homeless? But Chicago reformed their fire standards and emergency response tactics. And they rebuilt on a firmer foundation with stronger building materials. Many believe that it would never have become the city it is today if it weren't for the way they responded to their disaster. For most of my lifetime it was our nation's second largest city and is the third largest city today with a population of 2.6 million. 

Most of us will never have to survive a disaster of that magnitude in terms of loss of property and life. But all of us will face disasters of that magnitude in our hearts. We may lose a home. We may lose a fortune. And few leave this earth without losing someone they love. Some may find a way to make sense of it. Others may not. But we all have a chance to rebuild, whether we're rebuilding homes, trust, relationships, families or careers. No matter what befalls us, as long as we have a breath within us, we have that opportunity to take what remains and create something new and beautiful from it. 

No, it won't be ever be the same again. And there may be sorrow in that. And you may always miss what was. But it doesn't mean you can't emerge from it stronger. It doesn't mean you can't find happiness in its wake. And it doesn't mean the best of your life is behind you. Disaster of The Tower magnitude doesn't leave us without choices, nor does it diminish our choices. It actually places us in a field where all possibilities exist. A slate is clean and is yours to write on. What you choose to write is up to you.

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