The Beast – that helped find Beauty

“Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.”
– Dr. Robert Anthony

It was May 3rd, and what started off as a spark in the woods turned into a burning inferno that became to be known as “the Beast.” We are not talking Beauty and the Beast, we are talking about a Beast that we described at the time as this fire breathing dragon that had so many heads there was no way to determine when or where it would strike next.

I was called to duty on May 4th, the day after hell broke loose in the northern community of Fort McMurray. A fire so immense was out of control and the entire city needed to be evacuated – over 90,000 people, with only 1 hwy heading south to safety. My role with the RCMP at this time was emotional and physical support for those 130 some police officers who were working tirelessly to get the community out of harms way to a safe place. Amazingly, no one was killed.

Working in a camp that was just south of the city, my role (albeit very small compared to what was happening), was to help members get the basic necessities (food, water, hugs and a shoulder to lean on) while they were working 24-48 hours in the midst of chaos. It is at times like these when you see how brave and courageous our first responders uphold themselves in order to put their lives at risk to save others. The Beast was so unpredictable that flexibility and shear internal strength was required to do what ever had to be done.

I was able to help the over 300 people in the camp get basic necessities for our members and some families who were “stuck” at the camp for a week… toiletries, clean clothes, food and water. A very sweet family with 4 young children were stuck there for a few days. I had brought a few toys up with me in the event there were children there, and the kids were so sweet.

The week I spent up in the community as support was a wonderful, exhausting experience that made me even prouder than I was before of the men and women who serve and protect our country.

This past week was the anniversary of the Fort McMurray fire. I was grateful to connect with some of those members who I spent time with up in the camp. A year has now passed. Some have moved on to other areas of the Province, some are still in the process of rebuilding their homes, and the rest have continued to rebuild their lives within the community of Fort McMurray.

It is during times like these when people come together through adversity and trauma, that a strong bond develops. Friends for life – you bet. Will we always have each others backs? No question. Will some suffer internally more than others… for sure. As the year passes and time moves on… there will be small reminders that can bring a person back to that very day, week and event that had a profound impact on their lives. How we perceive the event, manage it at the time and develop resilience to not only survive but thrive, is something that takes time and effort. I too need to step back every once and while to make sure that my cup doesn’t run over…. that I have gas in my tank and my energy meter is firing at 100%.

What resilience strategies do you have to manage life’s adversities when they hit you unexpectedly? You never know when the beast is going to be in your backyard and you will need to have the strength and skills to call upon your internal beauty to help you through the tough times.

I invite you to a discovery session with me … together we can build on your strengths and help you recover and thrive.