At 2:51 this morning a 4.6 rolling type earthquake 18.3 miles away jolted me to full awakeness. Two minutes later, before I'd realized the first had ended, a second one or an aftershock, lower in magnitude but closer to me, tagged along for the ride.
I'd been expecting this since the much stronger July 4th and 5th quakes in Southern California, and the July 3rd coastal quake off British Columbia. The Seattle area is earthquake prone, and they say we are overdue for "the big one".
While these seismic events were happening, I was aware of the shifts in my own internal energies as well. I felt strangely light-headed as if my consciousness was off-center, and "charged" simultaneously, as if the electrical system of my body had rushed to the cardiac space with 20 venti quadruple shot lattes. Not emotionally anxious, just physiologically wired.
Perhaps dazed by the hour and the shock to my expectations of middle of night stillness, I held my breath for a few moments, waiting for a bigger jolt. Inwardly I felt calm, confident that whatever had just happened, I was safe and there was no danger. This wasn't an evidence-based thought, but a pure sensory confirmation, grounded in years of practice returning freaked out emotions to inner homeostasis. Now that equanimity seemed a default position.
With no other undulating movements of the ground beneath me, I decided that MotherEarth realized it was the middle of the night, and thought her poke at Puget Sound was sufficient.
Exhaling, my next instinct was to check on whether I had power, and -- still having the journalist genes -- to wonder what was getting reported about this on 24/7 TV news. Geez, it was the same political coverage I'd seen at supper time hours before. Checked the AP News app. Nada. Finally, checked Google, and found the details similar to those shown in the image above.
Did a little Facebooking with a friend who lives right at the epicenter. He said his first thought when the quake hit was that he'd better Venmo the money he'd promised, as if my magical powers had created this rather drastic reminder. That's right, Friend, and next time it'll be the flying monkeys. LOL!
Thirty minutes later, I was still noticing that caffeine overdose like physical weirdness, but my eyes were craving sleep. I laid in bed reviewing what to pack in case I needed to leave the condo in a hurry, and debating whether to do so now. It was a just the logical things to do.
Finally, after employing some equanimity reinforcing breathing meditation, sleep claimed me.
After 4 hours, my bladder sent an invitation I couldn't resist. I tried to nap afterwards, but I was up, dressed, and thinking it might be wise to make sure I have a full tank of gas.
In the big scheme of things, and in comparison to devastating quakes in other parts of the world, a 4.6 is not a big deal. It's gets your attention, to be sure, but like many other random, unexpected events in life, it doesn't need to trigger panic.
Instead, it's a perfect opportunity to practice pulling yourself back to your grounded center, and to activate the practices you have honed that restore you to an emotional status of equanimity -- meeting reality with accepting curiosity rather than with fear.