Recovery takes time. Money. Rebuilding. Re-assessing. Stamina and determination.
While the nation and our own loved ones recover, it can be difficult to know what the rest of us can do to help. If you have friends and family who have been directly impacted, it’s tough to find the right words to express that you sympathize with what they’re going through.
But providing emotional support during this time can be incredibly valuable.
NOTE: Contact BestFriends.org to report lost pets, look for your pets lost in Irma, or get information about volunteer and animal fostering opportunities.
If you’re not sure how to do that, here are a few suggestions from Dr. Baladerian.
- Listen and reflect. Say you’re so sorry, and you want to do everything you can to stick with them. As a supportive friend, just listen to them and validate their feelings.
- Let them mourn their loss. Your first instinct may be to jump in and say, “You can rebuild houses, but you can’t rebuild lives.” But there’s a good chance things will be different no matter how much rebuilding is done. Some of the islands and towns in Florida, some of the neighborhoods in Houston, some of the communities in the West ravaged by forest fires—they will not be the same, at least not in our lifetimes. A mourning time is needed in these early stages. Instead, it can be reassuring to say to a loved one, “I’m going to be with you until you have your house back,” or, “we’ll find our way together.”
- Help them focus on gratitude. Find a few facts to be grateful for, Dr. Baladerian says. Do a little list of appreciation and acknowledge what’s good. For many people, they’re simply happy to be alive, in which case you should focus on that. “You want to balance listening, being present, and noticing what’s good,” he says.
- Don’t underestimate long-distance support. After a disaster, people often don’t feel comfortable reaching out to their local friends and family for assistance, because they know they’re going through the same loss. Even if you aren’t anywhere near Florida or Texas or California, it’s worth it to post on Facebook to see if you can help anyone from afar. You might be surprised who responds, and your support and long-distance assistance can be instrumental.
- Understand that their feelings will fluctuate. After a disaster, it’s not uncommon for people to go through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), Dr. Baladerian says. “They may experience a different stage on a daily basis at this point, so be prepared for whatever it is they’re feeling. And keep in mind that disaster recovery is a long-term process. Your loved ones may not “get over” their loss right away, and it can be a long time before their lives are back to a stable normal. Be patient and willing to listen or help throughout the recovery process.
For my friends out there who practice Wicca, Witchcraft or even positive thinking: Here is one additional way you can help. This spell was created by Avery Hunt (thetravelingwitch.com), who recently went through a natural disaster herself in Hurricane Harvey.
Please feel free to use this magical working to help those who are suffering from the natural disasters that have occurred in the world recently and could use some extra support.
You will need:
* Sage leaves
* Orange peel
* Cinnamon sticks
* water in a jar or bowl (preferably rainwater)
* A pot and a stove
* Paper and writing utensil
* Small piece or twine or green, white or pink yarn
Hold your container of water between your hands and take a moment to channel your love and protection for the victims into the water. You can identify specific people or simply trust that your magic will find those in greatest need. When you are finished charging the water with your magic, pour it into the pot and set it on the stove to boil.
Add the herbs and as you do say,
“I call on sage to protect and guard. Orange for the return of happier days. Cinnamon so luck may find those in need.”
Allow the mixture to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
While it’s simmering you can chant, meditate or write about your wishes for the victims of the natural disaster. If you write down your wishes be sure to save them.
After you’ve finished simmering the herbs, turn off the stove and allow the brew to cool completely. Take the liquid and the herbs to a place of significance to you (an outdoor space, preferably somewhere that you feel especially connected to your witchcraft). Hold the container with the brew and empower it once more with your wishes for the victims.
Take a deep breath and as you exhale pour the brew out onto the ground. Allow the power you’ve built to leave through your breath, through your hands and through your herbal brew into the earth and air to be carried to those who need it most.
If you wrote wishes for the victims, roll the paper tightly into a scroll, tie it closed and hang it outside your home until the next full moon.
I’m performing my spellwork and putting my bundles out this weekend. If you have a loved one you wish included, leave their information in a reply below.
Until next week, Blessed Be.