Releasing . . . If Ida known better

The bottom of our street (photo taken September 2, 2021)

Hurricane Ida came through like a fast and furious wave — toppling me, yet reminding me to release and let go

I have been taking a much needed in-breath over the past few weeks — emptying my mind of swirling thoughts to just be and not be. I felt myself moving fluidly with life, despite perpetual challenges entering my reality. No need to go into any detail. We all experience curve balls from time to time.

But a sucker punch slammed me a couple days ago. As we had no warning, Hurricane Ida whipped through our house in a fury. Two tornadoes touched down within a mile of our home.

We are still standing. Our house is still standing. We have a roof above our house — fully intact (the last hurricane did not leave us as fortunate). Others we know have not been as lucky this go-around. Most of the surrounding streets have been submerged; cars have been swept away; and even one family had their cow swept away with the raging waters. 

No time now for details. The smell of wet basement and sopping wet items (tracing back to my childhood) calls to me . . . 

If Ida known better, I would not have left cherished belongings in the basement. 

If Ida known better, maybe I would not cling to physical possessions to the extent that I do.

If Ida known better, I would not have collected (hoarded?) SO MUCH STUFF.

Growing up, family members poked fun at me, and called my belongings, “Stephie stuff.” I had already learned to accumulate stuff. 

I can recall one time in my life, as a new college graduate . . . I was backpacking through Europe (covered 6 countries in 4 weeks), and as I felt compelled to purchase a few intriguing items throughout my journey, I had only a finite amount of space in my backpack. So I left behind some older items — old shirts and even a hairdryer (with a European adapter, of course!) to make room for the new. I realized I did not need them. I simply let my hair go naturally curly, and saved much time and effort in the process. I don’t think I have ever straightened my hair with a hairdryer — or any other implement — since that time. One could say it was a form of releasing expectations of myself. 

Well, the Stephie stuff is now sopping wet with river water. It’s quite the stench. Most of it is going to the dump. Only a small amount of the stuff will remain. I am releasing. It is a somber (and sobering) lesson, but a crucial one. We have no hot running water (as the hot water heater got ruined), but I know that when we do have hot water — once again — I will feel blessed and grateful, and perhaps I will treasure this luxury, when I did not before. 

The next few days will be filled with unfilling; and yes, purging all the STUFF and releasing. This task does not come easily to me, and brings up emotional debris. I am only human, and I do have attachments — despite knowing the pain it enables. 

Ida seems to be teaching and reminding me — in the most harsh and tough-loving of ways — what is truly important. Oh, that Ida. She will not be forgotten.

About eight years ago, I read, for the first time, the Tao Te Ching. If Lao Tzu was a real-life human being, he was most brilliant. As I have a long day of purging and releasing ahead of me — another day donning the boots (as the basement floor is still wet) — I leave you with an excerpt: 

If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give everything up.

The Master, by residing in the Tao,
sets an example for all beings.
Because he doesn’t display himself,
people can see his light.
Because he has nothing to prove,
people can trust his words.
Because he doesn’t know who he is,
people recognize themselves in him.
Because he has no goad in mind,
everything he does succeeds.

When the ancient Masters said,
“If you want to be given everything,
give everything up,”
they weren’t using empty phrases.
Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself.

Source: Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu Chapter Twelve

{Acknowledgment: Once my Internet connection was restored yesterday — after borrowing access from a neighbor — I received an email from a POM commenter with a reminder of the Tao. It was incredibly supportive, and I thank you. You know who you are (no need to name).}

26 thoughts on “Releasing . . . If Ida known better

  1. We live at 7,800 feet, and so are never flooded … wait a minute, we had a flood one time. I poured out a bucket of water into a toilet, and there was a rag in it, and it got sucked down. Later we had $12,000 worth of water in our basement. New carpet, new drywall, days on end of air blowers, but enough presence to get our stuff up and out of the way. The damage from flooding is long-lasting. I hope you have good insurance. We did – oddly, because our flood was caused by an inside event, and not outside, there was no upper limit, just the deductible.

    I am gratified that the person who brought Lao Tzu to you was a POM person, as I take some pleasure in knowing you’ve made valuable contacts here. Your own life will be restored over time. In the meantime, do what I did with our basement water … I shop vacced, put my head down, and was relentless, just sucked and kept on sucking.


    1. Thanks Ab. We truly are one of the lucky ones. Losing some material things is nothing compared to the loss of life that we are hearing about very close to home. Two local residents drowned in their cars nearby. The waters rushed in like a tidal wave, and no one had time to act. We have had flooding for the 25 years we have resided here, and never has it behaved in this most unnatural of ways.

      In my opinion, geo-engineers are ruthless and heinous, and driving this weather for their “build back better” aims – caring nothing about the human life lost along the way. To answer your question – I live in the Mid-Atlantic region.


  2. Years ago, when I was struggling financially, my shopaholic sister told me, in all seriousness, what she thought my problem was: “You don’t care enough about having stuff.” It’s as true now as it was then, but I don’t delude myself that my lack of materialism has anything to do with being super-spiritual. I carry enough useless, cumbersome baggage around between my ears to fill at least twenty basements. Coincidentally enough, I’ve noticed myself spontaneously letting go of a lot of that baggage over the past month ago, perhaps in response to family crises, though I haven’t really been aware of a cause-and-effect chain. Stuff I’ve been carrying so long I’ve long stopped noticing the weight of it anymore has just sort of fallen away. Your post felt like an externalized dramatization of what’s been going on between my ears. I admire the way you’re learning and growing from what I can only imagine is a difficult time.


    1. I have very little stuff, but I do accumulate books, papers, quotations, none of which will interest anyone after I die. We all accumulate photos on our computers, and when we die the computer is either wiped clean or tossed. The one thing i do have that others will want … tools. Every now and then I purge … sell of give away tools that I don’t use or need … how did I come to own them? They have an allure to me I guess.

      Oh yeah, I have a truck. Someone going to want that. The house will be monetized and distributed.


      1. I’ve got to thinking like this too about my stuff. The only things people will want are what can be converted to money or whatever they are told to value. The rest is landfill, even including the library so I’ve been giving it away before it is time.


  3. Sorry you’re dealing with all that, Stephers. Being forced by circumstances to reflect and take stock and so on is never very “fun” in the moment. We can read the advice of the Stoics (or Taoists) to overcome attachment of all kinds, but how many actually achieve it in practice. Usually takes the perspective of time before one can look back and appreciate these kinds of unwelcome inflection points in our lives. And now I’ll stop pontificating, since I’m not really qualified for the role..!


  4. Well, despite not “knowing” you, I would say your detachment process is so Stephers. That is an inspiring quote sent by someone inspired by you. It can be contagious, this inspiration thing!

    It is human to want to keep objects that remind us of other times. Most privileged folks accumulate stuff like magnets. When I moved to SF it was with a suitcase and backpack, maybe two book boxes, and then when I moved to Brazil it was even less. Both times moving out after more than a decade, I left with whatever the weight limit was for the flights. Yet I lived amongst piles of stuff and furniture, though the first months with almost nothing in my room were great and weightless. Much I gave to the workers who came to clean the place, or to friends and neighbors, the rest to the maw.

    Where does all the stuff come from, where does it all go? Mostly to the landfill, so more “jobs” can come from making more stuff; rinse and repeat. Much of the junk saturated in chemicals, like fire retardants (stay safe!), glues, plastics, etc.

    Over accumulation is wetiko; what % of North Americans have storage units? Some for decades…hanging on to stuff like it will come in handy one day, paying hundreds a month for things you don’t see for years in many cases. But because of all the terror implanted from past catastrophes, some keep stuff, just in case. Maybe it shows a lack of faith? Comfort has its place, of course, and tools are tools.

    Two final thoughts: I checked out a few moments of college football this AM, seeing full stadiums of screaming fans, nary a face diaper in sight, which was pleasing. But a sudden chill ran through me, realizing that many/most/all had to jab to be on-campus, to be in that crowd.

    Then last night, at a standing-room-only high school game, maybe 5% of the fans were masked, mostly older (40-50s) and out of shape, no social-distancing; which ironically would have been welcome because the proximity only added to the heat. None of the players on the sideline, nor coaches, wore any life-stifling device, but the cheerleaders all wore black ones, likely due to their coordinator’s concerns/psychotic break. The young women never looked so much like harem dancers for some desert sheik, pardon my French.

    Surreal? We’re soaking in it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad to see you and your situation is okay. Wondering how long were you without power and without internet? That photo is only two days ago. Interesting to see the lights are already back on and proof that Satan Klaus’s cyber polygon event if it happens, should not last very long.


    1. Thanks Greg. We never lost power, except when we had to manually shut everything down for my husband to wade in the 2 feet of river water in the basement (for a couple hours). Our internet was only down for a day, but neighbors behind us (nearly untouched by the storm) lent us theirs (as their “booster” signal reached our backyard). Many of my friends in PA are still without power, and will be for another few days.


  6. I still remain inundated with the aftermath of this furious flood (which, I do strongly sense was engineered

    Following is a powerful, resolute, and passionate message from a friend of my dear friend, Alison McDowell. Here, Ilana, speaks on all of our behalf. There is still much work to be done, and my resolve to continue this crucial engagement on behalf of all natural life is unwavering. I hope you will take time to listen:


    1. That’s a warm and reassuring message she brings. Indeed we are not alone. But here is something else to consider: Stop being afraid. What can they do to us? Imprison us? Take away our wealth? Kill us? They can do all of that, and still we will have the one thing they cannot take from us, free will. Born free, we stay free, even in a jail cell or concentration camp.

      I am currently reading about the year 1095 and a character named Peter the Hermit, who went about then-Europe (France, Germany and Italy we now call it), a passionate and charismatic man who enraged the population (with help of course from Pope Urban II) to assemble and make war on the Muslims of Jerusalem. It is written up in a book called Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. What are we seeing now if not agents provocateur seeking to incite madness? What did we see on 9/11 but incitement to attack Muslims? It is a mad, mad world, and always has been. The ability to live in the madness, to do as the poem says, keep our heads while those about us are losing theirs and blaming it on us, requires soft presence of mind and strong courage of heart. This too shall pass, the saying goes. I am not so sure about that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love that Gay song “Born Free”!!


        Kind of like why I like hitting the road and seeing where it takes me. 800 miles since yesterday…Escalante and Bryce Canyon. I couldnt even get a coffee in the park because I had no mask! What kind of $#@& is that!?!

        If that homosexual up North didn’t have an iron fist, I’d be up in Alaska.


    2. By the way, Stephers, another line from the poem I just cited, If, by Rudyard Kipling, which I’ve had on my bulletin board for years: “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two impostors just the same …”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you been in touch w Matt at QOConscious?

        I think he lives in highrise…but could be wrong.

        Hope he is OK too.

        I have not tuned in to him lately.

        Maybe Kensington trash / garbage (not referring to drug users!) has washed away??


        1. Hey Rastus,

          Yes, I am in touch with Matt of QoC. No worries, he lives in a single home, and was unaffected, but he has been helping out friends of his who had severe damage, as they live on on the river. I hope you will tune in to his recent discussions, as his current insights on reality are important, in my opinion.

          (chuckling) . . . I will have to check in with the current status on Kensington Avenue! I was still watching some of the footage until just before the storm, but I have not since then.


          1. I’m still convinced it’s street theater mixed in with actual homeless. A few peeps in that one, seem to make a standout appearance. Looks like many of those videos are getting 1 million views. How much money does a Youtuber receive for each view of their video??


  7. “DHS is also advancing authoritative sources of information to debunk and, when possible, preempt false narratives and intentional disinformation, and providing educational materials to promote resilience to the risks associated with interacting with and spreading disinformation, conspiracy theories and false narratives.”

    DHS is busy controlling the “frame,” “narrative” ie. the message is homogenized for the hive mind being created and maintained. Thankfully, we are still present and participating in our own future. One that will remain human and open to truth and learning and thinking. Radical, yes, in today’s situation. But necessary for all lifeforms, if they are to persist in perpetuity. Stand and be counted.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Was just getting my daily dose of soul while reading these comments and was sent the following inspiration:

    “Stand, it’s the truth that the truth makes them so uptight.”

    “Stand, don’t you know that you are free. Well, at least in your mind if you want to be.”

    And the one that says it all:
    “Stand! Na na nah na ni nuh nah na, ni nah.”

    Thank you to Stephers for providing inspiration, very glad you and yours are safe and sound.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice one; saw that screeching harridan on another site; it’s one of the best mash-ups about Clown world, very funny, very insane. The Aussie accent makes it even “bettah”


  9. For those who have a membership to Crrow777, or have an interest, and want to purchase a temporary membership (which I do from time to time): “348- Rain Exploded with a Mighty Crash – Nobody Fell into the Sun”
    (Posted on September 5, 2021) by Crow Jason and Crow have some interesting insights (from direct adverse experience) on Ida . . .


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