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A Powerful Storm And Personal Power

So Hurricane Irene wasn’t the monster storm they warned us about here in NYC, but still, the damage was significant and sadly 26 people lost their lives.

I have some sympathy for the officials who made the decision to evacuate people—if they didn’t, and the storm was as catastrophic as its early development indicated it might be, it would have been disastrous (it actually was disastrous in areas, but thank God, we were spared the worst of it).

The officials did choose to evacuate over a million people from areas of New Jersey and New York. It couldn’t have been an easy decision, knowing that whatever choice they made, they would receive censure. They had to put their personal feelings aside in order to make the decision that would best protect lives while attempting to mitigate disruption in families, education, business, essential services, and other important life-areas.

This kind of decision-making, whether on a public or personal level, is something that is surprisingly difficult to do, yet it is a crucial indicator of maturity.

How many times have you made decisions without thinking through the reasons and/or the consequences of your choices? Have you ever had to make a decision that was painful and might even have caused you censure from others, yet you knew it was best for everyone involved?

Like everything in life, our most important decisions carry no guarantees—who to marry, what career to choose, where to live. Sunday morning what I think was an aftershock from last week’s earthquake woke me. The wind was roaring and the rain in the glow of the streetlights, was slashing down nearly horizontally. Although morning, it was as dark as dusk.

The aftershock, the driving rain, the darkness were reminders. Reminders that our personal power is limited and that a far greater Power than our own, exists.

It was also a perfect time to reconnect with the fact that our personal power cannot turn off a hurricane or stop an earthquake.  It’s best used in deciding who we are and in which direction we should grow, how we can best serve and support others, and how we’ll make our way in the world, whether with kindness or without.  Our personal power helps us decide how we’ll respond to life’s big and little events, whether they be literal hurricanes or earthquakes or metaphoric ones.

About the photo from the web site: The GOES-13 satellite captured this stunning visible image of Hurricane Irene at 8:32 a.m. EDT, just 28 minutes before Irene’s landfall in New York City. The image showed Irene’s huge cloud cover blanketing New England, New York and over Toronto, Canada. Shadows in Irene’s clouds indicate the bands of thunderstorms that surround now tropical storm Irene. (Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

A Powerful Storm And Personal Power

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2011). A Powerful Storm And Personal Power. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 8, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Aug 2011
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