Disaster Zone

Passion, Closing Doors, Disaster

Thoughts on the new year — 2019.

by Eric Holdeman / January 2, 2019

As some of you know, I'm a fan of the Hidden Brain podcasts that typically have some sociological or mental/brain aspect to how we function as human beings and as communities.

They had a replay of one titled, Fresh Starts: Tales Of Renewal For A New Year.

I came away with three thoughts from this one podcast, not a long one, about 27 minutes.

Thought No. 1: It is passion in a person that I think can carry you through many twists and turns in a lifetime. Passions come in all different shapes and sizes. It could be career passions, music (as it was at first in the podcast above) or other areas of our lives. Compassion can be a passion. Today I'd say mine are emergency management, information sharing and gardening.

Thought No. 2: This is connected to Thought No. 1. We all know about or have heard people say that when one door closes, another one opens. Usually in the context above, we don't have our hand on the doorknob, it is some other event or set of circumstances that does the door closing — sometimes with a bang, like when the wind catches a door and it slams shut. 

I've gone through various phases in my life. When I started doing emergency management consulting I thought about naming my company Phase Four Consulting for the number of my professional life phases, with the consulting gig being Phase Four. But I stuck with Eric Holdeman & Associates Now in my 69th year of life, I'm thinking about "the next phase" — Phase Five. In this case, I'm the one with my hand on the door knob and thinking about — what to do next, and when to do it. Can I be something other than a violinist (listen to the podcast) and what might that bring? Success and contributing to society can come in a number of different forms. I don't think just golfing is a good Phase Five. Might I choose to do something other than emergency management, or might I spend my time doing more writing? Hmm, thinking about it — I am. Sounds like Yoda!

Thought No. 3: Again from this same podcast. They ended with this poem, One Art, by Elizabeth Bishop. There is one word that caught my ear:

One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Watch any newscast on a disaster where there is total devastation, and people are hugging and saying, "We have our lives, everything else can be replaced." Disasters are what we let them become in our lives. Loss hurts, but we continue — and should not let loss consume us. 

I do have to say that as an emergency manager, I would not mind if they didn't happen to occur in the same place all the time ...

Happy New Year!