Short Essay on How to Survive a Long Journey

Most of us can fairly easily be divided between sprinters and marathoners. Perhaps more accurately, we can be placed on a continuum between sprinters and marathoners. Sprinters have a particular set of muscles – they’re wound up tight and when they spring into action they just become a blur. Sprinters in disasters are terrific. They […]

NO ONE IS COMING

Houston. Harris County. Being a blue city/region in a red state is really dangerous. If we forget to unite the region in concerted actions – the actions that protect and strengthen us – it will cost us. It’s costing us now. It’s completely fair to say that the virus threat is different in Houston than […]

2016

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 One of our early Houston founding families supported the creation of settlement houses and community centers, because, as he said, “neighbors should live as friends”. I just recently returned from Germany. A country leading the struggle to welcome newcomers, to make a place for over a million Syrian refugees. German […]

MY SPIN

There are days when I wish that life was a bit more like Wheel of Fortune. If your spin landed on global pandemic, it couldn’t also land on fire, cancer, racism, bankruptcy, … And we’d just take hurricane season off the board altogether. Life is fraught. This ain’t Heaven, it’s Earth. And we are all vulnerable […]

Upheaval

Yesterday I wrapped up another class about disaster and displacement. Lessons learned by those whose lives have been washed/bombed/burned away. One of the deepest realities: we’re all vulnerable creatures on a common journey. Upheaval is a part of the journey. War or weather. Loss of health or wealth. This ain’t heaven. It’s earth. We’re all […]

Upheaval

In the aftermath of disaster there are discernible patterns – stages of thought, behavior and emotions. Fifteen years ago I began to map them. To document – from the experiences of people who’d faced the unthinkable – those patterns and stages. You can read some of what I’ve written about them on my website. This […]

TEXAS IS OPEN:

(sort of, except for, kind of, unless, if, but for, not those…)What follows are convo snippets – every one captures the gist of a conversation I’ve had in the last two weeks. In the weeks ahead will see behaviors that reflect every one of these positions and conditions. You can decide now how you’re going […]

My appeal to Mayor Sylvester Turner and Judge Lina Hidalgo

Dear Mayor Sylvester Turner and Judge Lina Hidalgo: Let me be frank. If you step up and lead — call upon sector leaders to join you in navigating this unthinkable twin disaster — you will win the resources and support needed to have a more effective and orderly recovery. If you don’t do this, you will find […]

Louisiana On My Mind —

I am thinking of some of my most treasured relationships. People in Louisiana. Friends and family. Many Louisiana friends are “storm friends”. We came to know one another in the aftermath of Katrina. We’ve seen horrible stuff. We’ve hugged in a street surrounded by wreckage, when everything was gray dust covered, with the smell of […]

7 Stages of Disaster Recovery: How the Light Gets In

“There is a crack in everything. It’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen About twelve years ago I began collecting stories — stories that emerged from working with people who had survived disasters. There were so many lessons in these stories. After a time, I began to notice that the wisdom I heard and […]