The Benefits of Being Powerless

My electricity went out yesterday. There was a big storm and electric lines went down. There was a part of me that wanted to fix it. But I was powerless. I had to live without something that was an everyday normal and basic part of my life.

Once I got it that this was how it was going to be, I relaxed. I started to enjoy the circumstances. The first thing I noticed and liked was the lack of electric light. There was just the sunlight through the windows, illuminating things. It gave everything a golden glow. I felt like I was looking at and living within a painting. It was like looking at my place with new eyes.

I thought that it's easy to get so used to the things around us that we stop seeing them. It's nice to notice what's there.

The second thing I enjoyed was the reduction of my scope of attention. With the internet being off, and my cell phone having run out of juice and not being able to be recharged, I lost a big connection with the world. Suddenly it was just me in my place. My sphere of influence was now the walls in my home. It felt free and simple to not be so spread out. I thought there are times to be connected and there are times to be unplugged. Not just one all the time.

The third benefit came when I went outside to spend some time in the yard. I saw my neighbor in his front yard. I'd never spoken with him before. Without the distractions, we naturally met in the middle of the road to say hi (it's a dead end street with no traffic.) We introduced ourselves. We talked about what we do. He was an old retired gentleman.

Then we talked about the storm. There was a fallen tree laying in the middle of the road. He said, "It's a good thing the tree didn't land on our homes. It's one thing when a tree lands on your car. That's something you can work out with the auto repair shop. But if a tree lands on your home and hurts you and your family, that's tragic. I'm glad we're all okay."

I said, "Yes, I'm glad we're okay too."