Life Changes–Unexpectedly Sometimes!

Since my childhood included growing-up in Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina, I must mention the tornadoes that tore through those states in the past week or so! Wow, how powerful they were…As a pre-schooler in Tennessee, a storm passed through our backyard and uprooted a massive oak tree. It was a puzzle for a four-year old to figure out what could cause something so huge to fall over. As a second grader, my family moved to northern Alabama. I remember viewing tornado damage in a nearby town and wondering how the houses and trees could be so mangled. These kinds of unexpected life changes produce instant confusion…

Transitions #1
"Transitions #1: Confusion". Free-motion quilting, beading on cotton, 16 x 16". © 2005 Joni Beach.

During the NC storm a couple of weeks ago, I watched the Weather Channel anxiously as a hook-shaped pattern formed on the radar around an area where all my family in NC lives. The actual tornado touched down just past them in a neighboring town. Last Wednesday night, I monitored our weather as we were under an unusual for the Virginia mountains tornado warning. Thankfully, the system turned north and the rotating clouds never formed a tornado that touched the ground.

In Alabama, where I also have family, the city where they live has had little electrical power since Wednesday evening. Gradually the power grid and other daily needs are being restored. A state that is used to having tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms, Alabama has experienced an intensity of tornadoes unusual even for them…These types of life events lead to questions like: How do people deal with and survive this kind of crisis? How do you move forward to restore normalcy? What gives support and sustains courage—provides encouragement?

My recent blogs–Lifeweavings: A Creative Journey, Spring’s Awakening, and Time–Linear or Circular?–have been about creativity in art and life. Coping after these storms is a real life example of a needed time for creative problem-solving—considering the facts, the changes, and all the possible answers and ways of addressing the sudden questions that everyone is faced with…How will we cook food and stay cool in the heat without power? Where will we get needed gas and supplies? How will the traffic flow safely without working stoplights? According to Froma Walsh in her book, Strengthening Family Resilience (2006), creative inspiration and collaborative problem solving help people live forward with positive outcomes. Imagination is powerful in transporting us beyond a crisis and allowing us to solve problems by drawing inspiration from past experiences, family stories, creative envisioning, and new, untried solutions. We can envision new ways of living with the changes to our homes and communities.

Of course, another key to recovery after a crisis that we so often see after a natural disaster is the social support –the immediate aid from other people in the form of food and water, shelter, medical care, money, and clean-up assistance to provide basics and a sense of security. The immediate needs become paramount and the larger global issues of the day are dimmed. As in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, until the basics of life are restored the higher-order needs of living become temporarily of little concern.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Resized, renamed,...
Image via Wikipedia

My hopes and prayers for all who were hit by the storms is that they will have the help and aid they need, as well as peace and hope for the future…

[Image via Wikipedia–By User:Factoryjoe (Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs.svg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

Lifeweavings: A Creative Journey

Today I am beginning this new blog…It’s good to have you here to begin this journey with me!

I believe we are all weaving our own individual lives as we meet the challenges and joys of

Transitions#3:Lifeweaving #1, (c)2006JoniBeach
Transitions#3: Lifeweaving #1. (c) 2006 Joni Beach.

each and every day. Whether we are artists by trade or of life, creative problem-solving is a helpful tool. In our complex times, simple answers and solutions are not always available and exploring many possibilities is required.

For example, in artistic endeavors a craftsperson takes the tools of their trade and experiments with materials, improvises with techniques, and plays around with many different ideas. It is not always easy to explore multiple options because change is not always what we prefer. Our comfort many times lies in the familiar and our impatience may tend to settle with the first answer we find.

In this piece, fabric appears to be woven and quilted together. The colors represent the stages of life I have so far experienced, beginning with blue for infancy through purple–middle-age. The black symbolizes the life challenges and struggles we face daily, which in turn contributes to our strengths…

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