Nuggets For The Noggin
What is Important Here – Part 3 of 6
(My thoughts immediately following Hurricane Katrina)
Article by: Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, September 7, 2005
When something as all encompassing as Hurricane Katrina hits, one tends to lose track of time. I had to stop and calculate not only what the date is but what day of the week it is. Well it is Wednesday, September 7th, I am alive and well working from my battery driven laptop.
Tuesday, I decided that while staying with my daughter and her husband and two children was a fine thing to do, I also felt I had to get back to
to start repairing my home. So at 3:30
AM, Tuesday I was on the road to Slidell. While it was hot in Birmingham this morning was unusually
cool. I rolled down my windows and put
“Watercolors” on my XM radio. If you
have traveled over a long distance and have access to satellite radio, you know
it is really unique. So I put on
Watercolors, which is a smooth jazz station that I can literally listen to from
one coast to the other without changing channels. What does all this have to do with Hurricane
Katrina – actually a great deal.
There I was, on I-59 south out of
turn the volume a bit louder, and discovered really cool air on my face and in
my hair. In fact it was so cool, I had
to put the heater on in the truck. Then I realized, I was keeping time with the
music with my head, my hands, my feet and my mind was actually clear of
Hurricane Katrina. Hardly a thought
passed for the better part of the 5 hours it took to reach Slidell.
So to people like Joe Sample, Herb Alpert, The Rippingtons, Rick Braun,
Chris Botti and others, I sincerely thank you for mentally taking me to a place
other than Hurricane Katrina.
There is a lesson here; your mind can not focus on two things at the same time. Therefore, when you are really troubled, think about sitting back in your best chair, put on some music that allows you to get involved with the music and let go! With all the trouble in New Orleans, there is nothing that I personally could do about it anyway, especially doing 70 (ok I was doing 77) on I-59 south. So why not let go and give your mind a rest. Not only did it rest, it was rejuvenated. After 5 hours of smooth jazz, I was ready to kick butt and take no names let alone prisoners.
Now it is one week and two days after the devastation. I still have not heard from 30 of my 70 agents. I am still confident that they are OK while the same I am sure cannot be said for their homes. Then I thought about something that occurred as recently as two weeks ago where an associate was really upset over something that happened. I would dare say the agent has not given that incident one thought since Katrina – kind of puts things into perspective doesn’t it? But why do we have to endure something as horrible as Katrina to realize that life’s “little” problems don’t amount to a hill of beans so why do we let them amount to a little hill of beans? You don’t have to answer, it was just a question.
It is hot in my home. I spent the last two days cutting up fallen trees and clearing my lot and patching the hole in my roof. At first I worked for about 2 hours and then took a 10 minute break. Then for about an hour with a 20 minute break and you can guess where this is going. I am not as young as my mind thought I was. It was really hard work in a very hot sun. You learn to appreciate not having to work that hard; that I can assure you. You learn to appreciate the little things at times like this. For example, my home is very hot, every window is open, the sun is setting just over the top of my laptop and, yep, it was what I thought it was, a very gentle breeze cooling me ever so slightly. When was the last time you gave thanks for a gentle breeze? You don’t have to answer.
So I sit here at my laptop writing about my experiences with Katrina. I have a chocolate SnackPak pudding and of course my XM radio is on and Watercolors is playing more smooth jazz and believe it or not all is right with the world in spite of Katrina. Sure there are people in harms’ way but there are always people in harms’ way, some beyond their control and some within their own control. By the way, Gregg Karukas is currently on Watercolors playing a song entitled “Healing Song”, is that a coincidence or what?
I received several phone calls today and that in itself was a small miracle. One was from Lee Shelton whom most of you probably do not know but should and the other from Joe Tye whom most of you probably do not know but should. Lee is an extraordinary man who has had a very creative life and now speaks to large groups about such things as “Creating Teamwork” something that everyone should hear. He called to see how his student was doing. Then Joe Tye called also to see how his pupil was doing. Joe’s book “Never Fear, Never Quit” seems somehow very appropriate at the moment. It would be easy to think of giving up and doing something else or going somewhere else. Leave it to Joe to put things into perspective.
I mentioned to Joe that it was easy to feel sorry for yourself until you realize how miserable some people are in downtown
New Orleans. Joe reminded me that pain is pain and it is
OK to not only feel your own pain but to let go and give in to how you
feel. Holding back your pain
accomplishes nothing. Once you can
acknowledge how you feel, it becomes easier to really let it go and move
on. This is NOT the end of the world. In fact, it is a new beginning. We had BK and now we start AK (before Katrina
and after Katrina).
That noise? Oh, that is another thing to be thankful for. A gas generator; J I hooked one up to a fan and now I am also thankful for a smallish hurricane that is blowing across my back. It was off when I started this Nugget but as the sweat started to run down my arms and onto my keyboard; I thought it was time to light it off. It was not totally selfish, my battery on my laptop was about to expire.
So what’s the lesson some 9 days after Katrina (AK)? GIVE THANKS!
What or who should I give thanks to or for?
- I am alive – God!
- My home is in tack
- I have my laptop computer and it is working
- A gentle breeze through the screen window
- Chocolate pudding
- Gatorade lemonade
- Gas generator
- A fan that works
- Lee Shelton
- Joe Tye
- Too many people to name who have called or emailed wishing me well
- My office building is in tack
- I still have my golf clubs
No one knows for certain what the future holds; it could be good, bad or indifferent. It really doesn’t matter does it? What’s important part 3?
- My wife Diane
- My Miniature Schnauzer Sophie
- The people who care about me and my well being
- Geeze, I almost left off my golf clubs (had I not said that no one would have believed a word I said here)
But the most important lesson I have learned 9 days into Katrina is to stop and give thanks to what is important and put everything else into its proper perspective because when it comes down to it, nothing else really matters.
I have over my desk three very important papers:
- 7 Habits of Highly Successful People –Stephen Covey
- The Self-Empowerment Pledge – Joe Tye
- The Traveler’s Gift – Andy Andrews
These documents are very important to me and I review them on a daily basis to keep me focused on what is important. As good as all three of these documents are, they left off one character trait I have learned as a result of Katrina and that is “to be grateful” and to “give thanks” even for the smallest of gifts like the cooling breeze over the top of my laptop when everything else seems to be falling apart around you.
P.S. If anyone would like a copy of the three documents identified above, send me an email to JimBrown@gymbeaux.com and simply put the word “documents” in the subject line. When everything gets back to normal, I will send them out. No don’t do that! I’ll just them out to everyone any way.
Oh yea, I am also very grateful to the over 400 recipients of Nuggets for the Noggin and the many comments I have received about them. Thank you from the bottom of my heard (has anyone ever wondered where that saying comes from? Why not the TOP of my heart?)
I worked hard today, think I’ll try the vanilla pudding – I don’t think the grandkids will miss one or two of them.