Dealing With Disaster- The Power Of Editing

city on fire..


It’s been another big week in the world…one where the cold fingers of fear have been felt across the planet.

The ripple effect is profound- each event of carnage has a huge impact on the collective psyche.

Something that has occurred on the other side of the world can affect us greatly….


Living in a global world is not always easy.

Technology has made “news” instantly accessible- we are on 24/7 live-stream right into our own lounge-rooms…the place we are supposed to feel most safe.


Some days it seems like there is no escape from it all….


Human beings are strange creatures.

We have a fascination with the negative and an almost obsessive compulsion to know all of the details, no matter how distressing.

We seem to be unable at times to self- regulate incoming information, to discriminate between what is useful and what is potentially harmful to us.

We simply open ourselves up to the avalanche of incoming information and let it sweep over us in an unedited pile…


We are then hard-wired to try to make sense of things: to ask the question that often has no satisfactory answer…..


“Why” often leads us down the garden path and right into the darkness of fear…


Put up your hand if you still have images in your head of things that you viewed on television years ago?

Or a vivid memory of something that you once saw on the front page of a newspaper that still disturbs you?


So often we allow other sources to fill our head with an emotionally toxic poison,  to immerse ourselves in it completely and then have no idea how to get it out of our system

Eventually it seeps through our entire being until we become paralysed with it- it’s called fear….


The media has a big part to play in the illusion of fear.

It’s generally only interested in the shock/ horror value of the “news” it selects.

“Good news doesn’t sell” is the old adage…I’d like to believe that there’s a time coming soon where that changes…


So, how can we protect ourselves?


Here are a couple of simple tips:

1. Edit Incoming Information:

How much do you really need to know?

Something terrible has happened…but how many times do you need to see the same footage over and over?

Turn the TV off. Once you know the general details that can be enough. Check in occasionally for updates but use the remote control’s off button- that’s what it’s for….

Skim read the headlines but avoid the gratuitous detail. How much suffering do you need to immerse yourself in?

Does knowing every traumatic detail make you feel better or worse? Often we keep piling the bad stuff in without even noticing the cumulative negative effect it’s having on our own wellbeing.

2.    Do A “Re- Edit:”

Bad stuff happens. It always will. But, like everything, it’s how we choose to see it that really counts.

We can view it through the eyes of fear or we can choose to see things in a different way altogether.

Sure we can see bad but if we take a different look we can also see good.


If the media chooses not to show us the good news we can create it ourselves based on what we already know about the human species….

Adversity often brings out the best in us!


The human spirit is one of the most incredible forces on this planet.

The acts of bravery, the kindness and compassion, the unconditional support and the outpouring of love that follows any tragic event is often life-changing. To watch a community, a nation, or a world, rally around those in trouble unites us all.

(The media usually gets to that part a week or so after the event, when the bad news has become old news…)

After working with so many people affected by disaster a common theme I’ve found is the overwhelming gratitude that people learn to have for those beautiful people who give so willingly of their time, their love, their money and their support.

The common feedback down the track is that something bad has been far outweighed by the good that follows it…that people’s faith in humanity is often restored in a way that they believed was not possible.

So, you have a choice about whether you see victims or whether you see heroes– what you choose will have a profound impact on how you cope.

Remember, we get what we focus on….

Just a couple of thoughts but ones that work for me! :)

Metal Man

what you see...

Last week I ventured bravely into “Men’s Territory.”

I found a space in the car park between all of the trucks and tradesmen’s utes and stepped inside.

Not simply a hardware store – no this was hardcore – “Metal World”…galvanized steel, corrugated iron, grinding and cutting as far as the eye could see.

I stood at the lonely counter trying for the umpteenth time to make sense of the long list my builder had so patiently explained- it had to be spot on:

2”x1”x1.6mmx 1.8m of RHS

30x30x2.0mmx.08m of RHS

10x50mm Steel Hexhead Fasteners…..etc…etc…etc…

Blah, blah…um, yeah, whatever…

A giant appeared. He must have been two metres tall and was the size of a small army tank. He wore steel-capped boots, a hard-hat and huge leather gloves. He looked like he was going to use my bones to bake his bread…

“What can I do for you?” he asked.

“Umm….I need some…ummmm…”

I began my faltering, stop/start journey through my page of gibberish.

When I had finally finished I looked up in hopeful expectation.

Metal Man just looked at me.

My mind began to panic and fill in the silent blanks:

“Did I get it wrong?

Is it that apparent that I have no idea what I’m talking about?

Am I in the wrong place? Maybe they don’t even sell OHS or whatever the hell it is here….”

“Have you just had a massage?” the giant suddenly asked.

I looked at him in surprise.

“It’s just that I can smell the green oil. I use it when I do massages….”


My mind was now whizzing all over the place trying to imagine this man mountain’s hands doing gentle massages- he could pick me up with just one of them!

“I notice you’re wearing chakra colours,” he continued, “I do reiki and aromatherapy and ear-candling as well and….” He launched into a knowledgeable spiel about alternative therapies.

Twenty minutes later and I had all of my steel supplies and a business card from my new friend… He shook my hand …..and his were as soft and gentle as a child’s….

It’s funny how we make assumptions, even when we think we’re being mindful.
I love it when my assumptions take a shake-up and I get to remember that things are not necessarily what they appear to be.

It’s a good reminder that what you “see” is not necessarily what you get!