Friday, September 26, 2014

A Hurricane is like the Human Psyche

Inside the eye of Katrina

You might even consider it to be more like the makeup of the human soul than just the psyche. It happens to be that season in the Gulf of Mexico and it seems that small hurricane sightings appear on an almost daily basis in central Alabama, well at least for me. I have learned that a hurricane has significantly more impact than just a simple breath of fresh air. It is much more powerful and has the potential for great destruction if its force is not dissipated before it comes into contact with land.

A hurricane builds up its strength mostly over water which is much like the human psyche being deprived of meaningful exposure to others that helps dissipate the built up energy (frustration and even anger in the human version). If a hurricane does not find a way to dissipate its building strength, it lashes out at whatever is in its unpredictable path of destruction. Katrina is an example of just how devastating one can be even though it was only a Force 3 version when it reached land. And so too can the human soul lash out if proper attention is not paid to what nourishes it. Much like the powerful force of nature, the human hurricane can be somewhat tamed by it releasing its forces over water (the absence of a lot of people) if it comes into contact with a calming force which a large mass of water can also be. Travelling over a long distance can also have this same calming effect.

The human version of a hurricane responds much better to suggestion than commands. In fact, a command is often a trigger for rebellion and sends it in a much uncontrolled direction that catches the unwary very much off-guard. And if the human version meets up with another hurricane, the combined forces can result in more than the sum of the two parts, especially if the second hurricane is also fraught with frustration and anger. Beware the land mass (a large group of people) that lies in their wake.

One curious thing that I noticed about the aftermath of the forces of a dissipating hurricane was far removed from the start of a major one (maybe Katrina or Ike) while working at a golf course in southern Ontario. As a hurricane releases its might across land, it leaves an area of bright sunshine, virtually no wind, fresh air, comfortable temperatures and generally a massive high pressure zone (similar to the eye of the storm with the exception of the high pressure since the eye is actually very low pressure). In fact, if you look at a radar map you are hard pressed to find anything but a huge high pressure zone left in the wake of the storm (a natural high). You might even call it heavenly or blissful and it lasts for several days.

I am reminded of a song by my all-time favourite female singer with her group, Gladys Knight & The Pips from the Imagination album which was easily one of my favourite albums of all-time as well. The song was simply called Storms of Troubled Times and talks very well to how one human being can support another. “…take my umbrella; it will shelter you from the rain…”

…Gladys you just sing your heart out, girl
…I had the good fortune of seeing her perform live and every song started out with goose bumps running up and down my neck, head and back
…she sang from her toes!!!

This happens to be a 46 minute video of a 1977 concert of them performing in Los Angeles and, despite the poor quality of the day and the sometimes too-fast stage production tempo; it captures them in all their glory. “The Way We Were” seems to capture Gladys releasing her very own hurricane (on her 4th marriage) in a beautifully controlled manner. The Ray Charles/Gladys Knight duos are worth it all alone. (I see Jamie Foxx in my mind every time I see or hear Ray sing. Jamie did one amazing job of capturing the hurricane in Ray in the great movie simply entitled “Ray” resulting in him getting an Academy Award for Best Actor)

…to Berry Gordy, you chose the wrong diva in my opinion.

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