For all my East Coast friends who experienced the 5.8 earthquake on this sunny Tuesday, Carole King’s lyrics have taken on new meaning.  I did indeed feel the earth move, and my immediate reaction (which was somewhat delayed by cognitive dissonance, not to mention the fact that I was, well, “indisposed” at that very moment) was to stand in a doorway and wonder if that was in fact what I was supposed to do. 

Well, if you’ve known me for five minutes, you know that something like this is bound to cause me to have a Metaphor Moment:

While the earth was shaking, I had no idea how long it would go on, or how violent it would get, or how much damage there might be.  And oddly, I wasn’t thinking ahead so much as marvelling at the idea that it was happening at all.  I knew it was completely out of my control, and my only option was to wait it out.  Find the safest place I could get to quickly, without putting myself at further risk. 

While my heartbeat definitely kicked up a notch, I didn’t experience fear in the ways that I’ve experienced it before, which makes me wonder what my other fears have been about. 

Hmmm.  The earth was moving beneath me, I didn’t understand what was happening at first,  it was hard to find my balance, and I had no idea what the outcome would be.  Sound familiar?  Very much like the catalytic events we are all faced with from time to time that really rock our worlds.  But unlike events that rock my social self,  in this case  I wasn’t thinking of outcome.  My essential self just instinctively found a safe place and waited.  Everything in my immediate world was in motion, but I somehow knew I’d be all right.  

As soon as the walls stopped swaying, I heard the voices of neighbors in the street, and left my chandeliers still swinging to go out and join them.  Wide-eyed and animated, we all reconnected and regrouped.   There were hugs of relief all around.   It was a nice reminder of the way we seek solace with those close to us when major life shakeups happen.

If I can learn to behave the way I did during the quake when I’m feeling unsteady and out of control, I wonder if life might not just be a little easier?  Find a safe place, watch with curiosity, and wait it out.  Then go find the people who are there to love and comfort me when the tectonic plates of my life have shifted.

The earthquake didn’t last long, but it sure shook a lot of folks up.  Facebook lit up with comments from Virginia Beach to New York City.  My favorite post was from the person who noticed that their “emergency response is to post on Facebook.”  It’s a great metaphor for how sometimes, we do something that doesn’t make any sense at all under the circumstances, it just makes us feel better.


4 Responses to I Feel the Earth Move, Under My Feet

  1. Amy, glad you and your loved ones are well. Loved your entry. We have so little control over so much of what is part of our worlds as individuals!

    And yet, you managed this event beautifully: with grace, equanimity and essentially motivated curiosity (your essential self kicked in autonomously and demanded respectful, didactic mindfulness and observation of the unusually wondrous manifestation that was taking place around you!).

    Just to prove there are no coincidences and that synchronicities do abound: coming in to my house from being out all afternoon, I tweeted, thinking of situations like the earthquake:

    “In moments of crisis, be still inside and keep your eyes and ears open. Then let logic be moderated by your own intuition and body compass.”

    Our souls must have been talking at a wordless, wayfinding level…

    Have a peaceful, restful evening.


  2. Kanesha says:

    Yes – this totally captures how we can ride something out or seize in a panic to gain control. This really cracked me up because it’s so true —> My favorite post was from the person who noticed that their “emergency response is to post on Facebook.”

  3. Jody Low-A-Chee says:

    Hey Amy, was glad to hear all was well with you.

    Amazing isn’t it how your experience of fear shifted and moved when looking at it through the eyes of your Essential Self. Yet another benefit to living life in this way!

  4. Emily says:

    Great metaphor, Amy! I love how you stayed calm and can see this as a learning experience for other times when you “could” freak out. 🙂

    And also very grateful that you are safe! XO

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