Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity

December 20, 2017

firemen honoring process for firefighter Cory Iverson
It's been an unbelievable year, from politics to fires, hurricanes and floods, yet I found the heartfelt inspiration of firemen gathering on overpasses to pay tribute to fallen firefighter Cory Iverson ( a  procession from Ventura to his home in San Diego), so perfectly symbolic of the love, strength and gratitude that demonstrates the resilience we are all being gifted. 

"Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you." L.R.Knost

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  Fires, Floods 2017
Yes, it is gut-wrenchingly tragic that he died in the Thomas Fire at just 32 and left behind a pregnant wife and two year old child, so that makes me weep. We have endless friends who were evacuated, some lost homes. Horrible. We woke up startled at five A.M. the first morning of the fires in early December to heavy smoke odor, alarmed that our own house was on fire even though we were far away in Santa Monica near the sea breezes. A few months ago, my brother's family home was flooded waist-high in Houston and they had to be rescued and evacuated, then my family and friends in Miami had to be evacuated. 

These tragedies affect all of us and we mourn the losses and senseless destruction. One day we are on the 101 shown in this photo and admiring the beauty of California, then the next we see this dreamlike photo of a fire-y commute, yet just a few days later we were on it and it looked perfectly normal again. Surreal times of big changes. 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  Firefighters Thomas Fire

Mozart has been very busy with her acting work and in the recording studio with Grammy-winning producers, so life goes on and we haven't had that much time to absorb it all. Tragedies hit very randomly so even people involved in an area will have very different experiences, a lesson I learned in the 7.2 San Francisco earthquake when I happened to be in a place hit very, very hard where it looked and sounded like the end of the world, and many died, ( gave me PTSD for years) yet, some were lucky enough to be in an area like driving in a spot where they didn't even know it happened!! My brother has lived through several hurricanes and floods in Houston, yet his house never flooded until this one, but I also had friends in Houston who were not affected and some who had less flood damage like his daughter's house nearby, 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  Firefighters Thomas Fire
I'd read about Cory Iverson, but didn't know about the firemen's custom of honoring the fallen this way. My sister's brother-in-law from Northern California is fighting this fire as is another old friend who has a daughter Mozart went to school with in Santa Cruz and we have stayed in touch with over the years. We see it all on Facebook and keep these people and all those fighting and affected by the fires or floods in our prayers. Another friend is a helicopter pilot who helps with fires around the world. This photo captures the exhaustion of the hero firefighters in the Thomas Fire ( posted by @cookiesinheaven  on Twitter). 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  firefighters heroes 2017
We'd gotten up early on Sunday to drive to Agoura for a photography session for Mozart to be ready for pilot season coming up in January. On the way there, we could still see and smell smoke in the far distance as the fires continue ( now 55% contained), but otherwise seemed like an ordinary day. 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity Firefighters Thomas Fire 2017
On our way home, we became part of the procession honoring Corey Iverson. ( Photo posted by @AlSeibPhoto on Twitter) It was accidental and extraordinary. Such a powerful and deeply touching experience that defines 2017. 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  firefighters heroes 2017 Thomas Fire
You can help his pregnant wife and child here. 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  firefighters Thomas Fire 2017
Who could not be impressed by these brave men who risk their lives to save others? When I see tragedies, I always think of the famous Fred Roger's quote:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity firefighters Thomas Fire 2017 Heroes
 Be it  fires, or floods or whatever tragedy and adversary we must face in life, I choose to see the good and there has indeed been so many heroes in 2017. So much to be grateful for always and no matter what. Let's honor them all. 

My friends Terry Tillman ( that I have known for over 35 years) and his wife Keidi Keating with their toddler son, had to escape and evacuate their home in Ojai without much warning. As they drove away from the smoke, they had a brilliant insight to write a book, an inspiring guide for anyone who has experienced a natural disaster, whether personally, or through a fire, a flood, a hurricane, or an earthquake. One title idea for the book is 'The Light in the Flames: Blessings Received and Lessons Learned from the Thomas Fire.'

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  fires & floods 2017
Despite the many hardships of this year, life goes on and we get stronger and more resilient, more woke, more grateful and inspired by the every day heroes all around us. God Bless all the firefighters and first responders. God Bless all the heart activists. God Bless the "Silence Breakers" who were the 2017 Time Magazine's Person of the Year and the #MeToo movement. 

There is much to be proud of and inspired by in 2017, so I look forward to 2018 as LOVE is louder than all the rest. We just have to open our eyes to it and trust all is unfolding perfectly and leading us to where we need to go.

                                                Be the change that you wish to see in the world. 
                                                                     -Mahatma Gandhi

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