Lightning illuminates a graphite sky, as the wind whips through my hair and my aura. Thunder rattles the earth and my bones, and the rain comes down however it will—straight, hard and insistent, or a little sideways and chaotic. Look at the weather forecast for lower Alabama this time of year, and you will see a thundercloud icon on every day of the week. Storms are always a late afternoon possibility. They can be utterly terrifying in a place that has experienced deadly tornados, but they can also be cleansing and renewing. 

Lately, I have welcomed storms that are just enough to wash away the tension and heaviness in the air and in me as well. As late summer sets in and autumn beckons, I find myself wading in the waters of grief once again. My father’s lung cancer is terminal. He will cross the veil as my mother did three years ago. It is strange, this thought of being parentless, though I have so often parented myself through life. Still, there is this feeling of an impending storm and the longing to be on the other side of it with everything washed clean.

Cycles have to be lived, however. There is no workaround. Clarissa Pinkola Estes captures it well when she writes that “to love means to embrace and at the same time to withstand many many endings, and many many beginnings—all in the same relationship.” (Estes, 2003)

Knowing that I can’t avoid this particular storm of life, I look for ways to weather it instead. I think of what provides the sturdiest emotional shelter, some mix of practical and magical strategies to prevent the maelstrom from pulling me under.    

The first wall of my shelter is physical activity. I do a mix of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and yoga to keep my body in shape, but it helps to calm my busy mind as well. Working out is usually the first thing I want to drop when times get tough, but it’s like the load bearing wall of my shelter. If it goes, the whole structure gets shaky.   

The next wall is meditation. I use some meditation exercises I learned from Druidry, and I’ve been focusing more on how I breathe. Most of us don’t breathe deeply and consciously, and our shallow breathing tends to elevate our stress levels. Self-Healing with Breathwork by Jack Angelo has been a valuable resource to me.      

The third wall of my shelter is, of course, writing. Journaling helps me put things into perspective. It gives me a place to vent, reflect, and go deep. Sometimes I’ll start with a Tarot or oracle reading and then journal about what I see in the spread.   

The last crucial wall of my emotional storm shelter is having a support team. I’m a trained life coach, so I cannot overstate the importance of receiving good counseling when going through any type of life transition. This, along with a supportive women’s circle, keeps me grounded and connected to what matters most. 

If you are going through a personal storm of your own, I hope this helps you to create your own best shelter. We are in the midst of eclipse season as I write this, and from the input I've received, it’s rough out there. If we can’t be on the other side of the storm just yet, may we find refuge and solace in the things that nourish mind, body, and soul until it passes. 

Blessed Be   

Estés, C. (2003). Women who run with the wolves. New York: Ballantine Books.