A couple of weeks ago I watched my computer screen in abject horror attempting to make sense of what I was seeing. Hurricane Dorian had stalled over The Bahamas.

How does one adapt and flow when that happens?

Occupy Sanity Tool: Adaptation

I understand the destructive capabilities of a Category 5 hurricane. Even though I was only four years old, I remember the night vividly in 1960 when Hurricane Donna, only a Category 3, hit Miami.

My parents decided to ride out the storm in our home. They consulted longtime Miami residents for advice on how best to survive a hurricane. I only remember two: board up any large windows and during the storm listen to which direction the wind was blowing. Then they were instructed to open or close the jalousie windows on the opposite side to reduce the pressure in the house. However, my most significant memory is waking up in the middle of the night from a dream about a massive gorilla roaring as it chased me through the jungle. In reality, it was the sound of the wind roaring all around the house.

Adapt and Flow

Even with that experience, I could not imagine being in the middle of such a force of Nature for 18+ hours. I replayed the videos several times frozen to my chair. After 5 minutes, I realized that repeatedly watching was a way for me to adapt to a situation which did not fit my version of ‘the way it was supposed to be.’

Staying stuck in feeling helpless and hopeless can ultimately shorten our life. In the case of a hurricane, it’s necessary to adapt a plan or several plans to increase your chances of survival. Scientific research proves that stress weakens the body leaving it more susceptible to disease. It’s better to adapt rather than fight against what is happening in and around us. This adaptation is necessary for our survival.

As Molly Prather notes in her article The Importance of Adaptation:

“The inability or lack of willingness to adapt can have a high price over the course of one’s lifetime. Resistance to accepting the way the world, technology, people, weather, living situations, economics, and climate changes can create a never-ending path of frustration. The ability to adapt is essentially the ability to evolve with the world around you.”

Knowing that adaptation will allow me to have a better, maybe longer life doesn’t mean it’s easy to do!

Plan

As I watched the videos of Hurricane Dorian’s destruction, I looked for a way to shift from feeling helpless to hopeful. I saw Chef José Andrés of World Central Kitchen walking through his kitchen, which was in complete disarray and flooded. He said that he had planned to make meals for people as he had done in the past after natural disasters. Now, as he pointed out, that wouldn’t be possible from THIS kitchen. What he said next inspired me and gave me a clue about how to take the first step toward adapting to changes.

Chef José said: “If Plan A isn’t available, we have Plan B, and Plan C. We are very good at adapting. And when you have a plan usually like we’re seeing with these hurricanes may be the plan you had breaks apart and if you’re not able to adapt nothing will happen. Sometimes the best of plans is to adapt.”

I felt a tiny ray of hope begin to shine in my heart. For me, then, to successfully use the OST: Adaptation, means to go with the flow, have multiple backup plans, and continue taking action on them. Remember Anonymous’ advice:

If Plan A doesn’t work, there are 25 more letters in the alphabet. Stay Cool.”

 

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