Learning to Let Go – the Lesson of Katrina

I had been anxious the whole summer of Katrina. Hurricane seasons had come and gone for years without me paying any mind. The summer of 2005 was different, there was something strange in the air, an uneasy energetic current. I had a string of signs of impending doom. There was the mirror that shattered; the birds flew into my house and the dreams of all of the dead people in my attic. If there was as much as a breeze in the gulf, I was ready to get on out of here which ultimately I did. I evacuated on Saturday morning, packed up the sedan, and headed north without looking back. Something wicked this way was coming. I psychically saw the flooding and I got going after warning folks to take their pets and get the hell out. It wasn’t the wind that was going to get us, it would be the water and it was going to be bad. I am often asked by others from around the country if I evacuated from the storm and my answer is that I wouldn’t be a very good psychic if I didn’t.

The night before I left town I sat quietly and meditated, asking for a clear answer if this was the big one that I had seen before. I received a vision of my mother’s spirit swimming to me underwater and it doesn’t get much clearer than that. I knew that I could drive away from my house and not come back. I sat in my home knowing what was going to happen and I just began to weep. How could I fit a lifetime of living into the trunk of a car? I grabbed my dog, cat, some photos, and some paperwork. If I had to decide what else was more important than what else I would have had a meltdown. It was all-important, it was my world. Looking back at that moment, I feel that I learned, perhaps, my greatest lesson of Katrina – letting go. You can’t take it with you! All we really have is ourselves and our connections to others. Material things may be fun but can’t be clung to. At any moment they could be gone and were for many. You learn to separate the wheat from the chaff when there is a cat 5 hurricane breathing down your neck.

I was fortunate, my house only took in a foot of water and a chunk of wind damage. At least I had somewhere to come back to and rebuild. To my brothers and sisters in St. Bernard, the Lower Ninth, New Orleans East, and the Lakefront who lost it all goes my deepest sympathy. They still continue on in uncertainty five years later. There are areas of this city that look as surreal as when I was first allowed back in after the storm. We are rebounding but with a bit of a limp. None of us will ever really get back the life we had before and some more than others but, in reality, all any of us have is this moment and we have to release it whether we want to or not. Life is a series of letting go. Katrina taught us that.

The media has descended upon New Orleans for our 5th year anniversary, all over the news, reporters on nearly every corner. Some of us have been laughing because the day after the big event everyone will pack up and something new will be news and we’ll fade once more. It’s ok. As most of us here have moved on. We have mourned our losses and created new lives. It isn’t always easy but learning to live in the moment helps. We appreciate all the assistance and attention we receive but we will never be the same again. Forever changed, our understanding of our mortality and of the temporal world has shifted to a much more accepting tone. Perhaps things are a bit easier in the big easy as a result of Katrina bringing us the lesson of letting go. If you would like to be a part of the celebration of this city’s resilience on this milestone occasion, go get yourself a nice drink, kick back and let go of your worries. I guarantee that’s what most of us will be doing. Cheers!