Blown Into Chaos by Devil Winds

Fire pit area in complete disarray with cushions tossed, leaves everywhere, branches leaning on everything
Scroll to the "Comments box" or call 206-350-6445 to tell us what you think.
On podcast pages click the arrow to play the episode.

The Santa Anas wreaked absolute havoc in our yard.

Do you ever get tossed by “Devil Winds” in your life?

Here in Southern California, our Santa Ana Devil Winds lately tossed everything pell-mell and pummeled our back yard with leaves, branches and chaos. I felt the same inside. I am absolutely terrified by the sound, the shaking glass of the windows and the looming threat of our neighbor’s untrimmed swaying giant of a tree that moans, snaps and bends over us like Godzilla stalking Tokyo.

Huge towering tree seen from below looking up to the sky

The gigantic tree behind our house is terrifying in the wind. It belongs to our neighbor and so we have no control over getting it trimmed.

This is an actual physical threat that disrupts my sleep as our room is located on the second floor, with only a flimsy roof between us and it. Our sturdy house that has withstood earthquakes with ease, feels like a folded paper boat among the swells of a tidal wave. Our cats go crazy, I go crazy, and only Mark remains calm, having lived his entire life with Santa Anas.

Physical Vs. Emotional Fear

Since the terror comes from a physical source, I can take what steps I can. I move into our quest room, which doubles as my sound studio. This feels safer as it is an interior room on the first floor, cocooned by the rest of the house and has the added benefit of sound blankets shielding me from the racket.

Disaster may very well still strike, but taking action has helped my compulsive mind deal with the fear.

Later on I pondered my reaction and realized that emotionally, I also have phantom Santa Anas that pummel my emotions and self-esteem. And I try to do the same as I did with the physical threat. I hole up, safe from the scary world by isolating, distracting with food, diet thoughts or endless hours watching reruns of Survivor.

When is Safe not Safe?

In our fight or flight world, I used to be self-programmed for flight. Avoid people who might make me feel badly, avoid situations where I might fail. Cover up feelings. Don’t admit the wind is out there. Stay safe under the emotional sound blanket provided by Robot Aliens. Cocoon like a swaddled baby using ice-cream as a thumb to suck.

Trouble is, by holing up and denying my emotional fear, I didn’t go out and experience the world or my possible part in it. I always assumed I was no good. I always felt that good things came by luck or via the auspices of others and that bad things were what came from me.

How could I ever learn differently if I never tried?

Fear is real

These days we can experience fear in real life, like I do from the looming tree, we can experience it in movies and VR, we can also experience it in the prison of our mind and habits. Like well done VR, the prison of our mind feels real. Our heart pounds just as hard. Our palms sweat. Our warning bell voices caution or berate us.

How do we overcome and break out?

First, by admitting we feel it. Whoa, there Laurie, that is SCARY. Yep, it is. But which is scarier? Never being you in the world, never getting to experience life? Or letting a feeling flow through you?

Just because you feel it, doesn’t mean it’s permanent.

Second, take one small step toward your goal or wish or dream. Search for an online writing group. Find a singing teacher. Research charities that could use your help. Find a recipe that you would enjoy eating.

Thirdly, imagine the step after that. Signing up for the writing group, contacting the singing teacher, picking the charity that most speaks to you, writing down a shopping list for the recipe. Sit with this for awhile. Is it overwhelming? Is the tree still looming? Imagine the next step every day until it feel familiar. It might take weeks or minutes.

Then take that next step and repeat.

It also works for hard conversations, for inner work, for allowing yourself to feel what’s real for you.

Devil Winds are not easy, inside or out, but you are worth the risk to discover how to fly despite them.


Comfy chairs around a black iron fire pit on a stone patio

With some work, thanks to Mark, peace and Zen is restored to our backyard

Comments box:

4 thoughts on “Blown Into Chaos by Devil Winds

  1. Dawny

    Wow. FEAR….
    So deep.
    I’ve encountered some deep feelings of the fear of dying over the last 11 days as I’ve had a bad illness with severe effects on me and it’s undiagnosed. There are a lot of possible things.
    Fortunately today. Day 11 I feel the best yet.
    But, I sure worried about my husband if I died. He’s quite co-dependent on me. I worried about the pain it would cause people and all the things others would have to do or deal with.
    After your reading your excerpt here (that’s extremely well written I might add) I’m realizing I was using my ‘worry’ about everyone else to hide behind the reality of my FEAR and that I’m not ready to die.

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Big, big hugs and deep breaths Dawny my friend. It is so brave of you to face that fear. It is very usual too. I surely hope they find out what’s ailing you. Until then, know you are in my thoughts and that no matter what, you are a light in the world and your life is a gift. xoxoxoxo

  2. Jo

    Oh my goodness – getting tossed around by wild winds – as per my private message to you re: Vegas trip with friends that did not turn out as well as hoped – but I turned up, I was present and I have learnt from this, I have realised that if I am out of sync that is fine and dandy and i cannot necessarily control everything. My self-esteem is a bit bruised by this wild wind but I am doing well 🙂

    Dawny I truly hope things are definitely on the up and up and you are living life to the full again

    Thanks again for the thought provoking blog post

    1. Laurie@CompulsiveOvereatingDiary Post author

      Ahh those pesky Devil Winds.They never stop surprising me. They seem to come out of nowhere (both the actual and the emotional). The physical, I do what I can and feel the fear. The emotional, I think I still turn to the hiding first, then have to talk myself out of it. It’s a process, and the good news is it gets easier each time I face my fear and do it anyway. Good for you to let Vegas just be what it is and not the determiner of your worth or capability. xoxoxoxox


What's your story?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *