Hurricanes in our lives

Fred Cavaiani

The frightening hurricanes we have witnessed in the past weeks shake us into a realization of what is really important in life. Those in Florida right now could lose everything. Some of the islands that the Hurricane hit this last week were totally destroyed. Texas has suffered so painfully and Florida is on the same road of suffering and loss.

Life can seem so normal. Then a weather tragedy happens. A personal loss of a loved one is a fear everyone experiences. When it happens the pain is intense. We can suffer from an accident at any time of the day. A serious illness can occur. We could receive a diagnosis of cancer which changes our life in an instant.

Each of us will have a personal hurricane sometime in our life. These emotional and physical hurricanes are beyond our control. We feel powerless. All we can do is react properly to what happens to us. But as we look at the preparations the people in Florida are making for this big hurricane, we often aren’t so lucky when an emotional hurricane hits us.

The preparations for these emotional hurricanes need to have been put in place as we live our lives. We know that it is inevitable that these hurricanes will happen to us. But so often we can fail to do the basic preparations for what will come our way.

These basic preparations are 1) developing a deep relationship with something more powerful than us. For most people this will be God or a positive theology and philosophy of life that helps us make sense out of everything. 2) Living a life that promotes good health, physically, spiritually and emotionally. This means that we put into practice fundamental actions that promote good health. 3) Embracing our joyful feelings and our painful feelings and not pushing them down or running away from them. It becomes important to realize that you cannot heal what you can’t feel. Feelings cannot be postponed or ignored. So we need to be practicing Relationships, Life, and Embracing what is before us.

I am always amazed at people in time of hurricanes who want to minimize its danger and not go for safety. It is called denial of reality. We all do this at times. We deny what we have to embrace and experience.

What are the hurricanes in your life? What are your deepest fears? What is your deepest pain? What are the things that bring peace into your life? What are the joys in your life? Have you minimized them? Sometimes we minimize our deepest pain and our deepest joy.

During this time when we watch the news and see so much about hurricanes and danger and seeking safety, ask yourself what are the emotional and spiritual hurricanes in your life? Do we live a life in whatever comes our way we are ready to learn from it and embrace it so it doesn’t overpower us?

We can often be in such poor condition that we have no resources left to take better care of ourselves. We need to develop our resources in life. We are all so fragile. However our fragile lives can be reinforced with positive actions that we put into practice every day. Take time out to meditate each day. Take time to develop positive friendships. Learn to listen to others more attentively. Take care of your body by regular physical exercise. Take care of your emotions by letting yourself cry and feel your pain and your joys. Don’t avoid what you have to feel.

Then when the hurricanes come we will have the strength to embrace them and become stronger and wiser and start a new life with more love and wisdom. We will realize what is really important in life.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@ and his website is