Adrenaline and the Present Moment

Caught in the Storm

A couple nights ago, I was taking a spontaneous walk through my local town (like I do on most days or evenings). I noticed the skies darkening up a bit, so I checked the weather map on my phone, and a pretty solid line of thunderstorms was about to come through the town.

Dark clouds from thunderstorm over town building

I’ve always loved storms, and often find them adrenaline-inducing, unpredictable, and awe-inspiring. When I was young lad, I would often pretend I was a weather man, and mock to my parents what I was seeing on TV about the current weather situation. I would even use some sort of pointer or ruler and use the kitchen wall as an imaginary weather map to point at the incoming threats on the fake green screen (which was just some blue and white wallpaper).

Not sure how I didn’t end up a weather person…but alas, that’s not important right now.

There’s a stereotype that graces memes and blogs on the internet about people from the Midwest and how you’ll find many of us watching tornadoes and thunderstorms on our porch, while most other sane people will take cover.

I’m from and still currently live in the Midwest…Yes, I am that guy (on some level); the one who tends to stare those dark, unnerving clouds in the face and say…”hey, put on a show!”

I’m not sure if I need to put a disclaimer here or not. But…well…alright…

Disclaimer: My behavior or choices in relation to weather safety may or may not be considered “safe.” I am not responsible for your behaviors or outcomes related to those choices, and my chosen behaviors are not intended to influence how you deal with weather that is potentially threatening to you.

There…hopefully that is sufficient 😏

Anyways, back to the story.

Usually I’m pretty on top of the weather, but this one ALMOST got me.

I mean, I could clearly see the dark clouds embarking upon the town, and I chose to take a small break on a bench in my downtown to stare at the monstrous-looking storm that was coming in…but that’s beside the point 😅

This particular storm was moving it at a much faster rate than I was expecting.

I started to tread home after an intuitive inkling that it was time to go, but HAD to take a couple pictures of the ominous weather. Of course, right? Count me intrigued!

“But Corey, couldn’t you have just stopped in at a local restaurant or store to wait it out?”

Well, sure I could’ve done that, but I didn’t necessarily want to wait out the storm as I had no idea how long it was potentially going to last, and it was getting somewhat late in the evening. And it sounded less fun, and figured I could make it home lol.

I continued my trek home, and then the last time I turned around to take a picture, I was hit by this wall of cold downdraft that felt like I entered a different dimension.

The wind went from basically 0 to 25 or 30 mph in an instant. I felt the temperature change from a humid, 88 degrees to what felt like a 5 or 10 degree drop that was immediate. (I don’t have the official stats on that, but the experience was pretty cool…no pun intended 😎).

Leaves started blowing off the trees, chasing me in the same direction I was now sprinting.

I was at least a quarter mile away from home still.

The wind continued to pick up speed and become more steady, reminding me every stride of the way of what was barreling down on our town and myself.

I turned the corner to make my way towards my home and then the lightning started flashing in the distance. Rain slowly started to trickle from the sky and pelt me in the face, though luckily, not a full-blown wall of water just yet.

I definitely felt the energy and adrenaline shift in the body. I almost felt like I was in the movie Twister for those 60-75 seconds between street corner and home.

Then I felt like Forrest Gump for a second as well as I ran past my neighbor who was just getting up to take cover in their house, as she yelled “Run Corey, run!” (yes, my neighbor actually did say that, making the moment that much more awesome) as I sprinted parallel to their fence line, with my house door in sight. I can almost guarantee it looked something sort of like this:

Run Forrest Run

Thankfully, I made it to the safety of my home, with a minute to spare before the waterfall of rain unleashed itself from the sky.

No, we didn’t have a tornado or anything like that, and we’ve definitely had worse storms. But, either way, it was an adrenaline- propelling experience.

I never really felt truly fearful though. I mean, yes I was running home to get to safety because I knew what was coming. But in the mind and body, I was very present and was feeling every sensation. My mind wasn’t wandering to the other challenges I’ve been frustrated with as of late.

I was feeling the wind rush over my skin. I was sensing the cold sprinkle of rain on my neck and through my shirt. I was hearing the thump of my feet in my Adidas shoes strike the concrete every third of a second as I was sprinting home. I was watching leaves fly off the trees and come zooming up from behind and past me as the wind howled in the same direction I was heading…while I also watched cars parallel to me flow in the opposite direction towards downtown (with me also thinking “hm, I wonder what all these drivers are thinking right now, seeing me gallop down the sidewalk. Are they concerned? Are they laughing? I kind of hope they’re laughing because I am also sort of laughing.”). I was seeing unmistakable pulsing lights in the sky that contrasted with the dense darkness that created those lights.

I was in it. I was feeling all of it.

Despite the potential dangers I was in during my thunderstorm encounter, as I mentioned before, I was very in-the-moment. Nothing else was on my mind in that moment. I was fully engaged enjoying the moment for what it was. None of my other worries of the week were on my mind. I felt alive.

From Future to Present

If you’re anything like me, maybe you future-think a lot; dreaming of the possibilities of what life can look like, wondering what’s coming next, or maybe you’re even a bit worried about where your next paycheck is going to come from.

Perhaps you’re in a transitional phase in life and you can feel the energy of something new trying to show up, but since you can’t see the physical manifestation of what’s coming yet, you start to focus on the fears and become impatient. Maybe money is starting to run a bit low (true story lately for me), or perhaps some potential new directions didn’t pan out in ways you envisioned.

Many circumstances in our lives can cause us to worry about the future. Many of us want to know everything right now, and know where things are going and that we’re going to be taken care of.

But it’s how we feel and show up in the present that makes a huge difference. And in my experience, mindfully staying as present as possible is where the magic generally happens, while trusting in God.

And no, not every day is going to feel like you’re riding this high wave. Being present doesn’t mean blocking out the feelings that are coming up right now. So if you are having a shitty day for whatever reason, be ok with it. Sit with it and know that better days are coming. Allow for whatever is festering at the surface to release because then you become free of it.

Present Moment Awareness

Despite the potential dangers I was in during my thunderstorm encounter, as I mentioned before, I was very in-the-moment. Nothing else was on my mind in that moment. I was fully engaged enjoying the moment for what it was. None of my other worries of the week were on my mind. I felt alive.

And it wasn’t just the adrenaline.

So my question to you is…what can you do today to cultivate more present-moment awareness?

Are you even conscious of how often your mind wanders?

Do you catch yourself doing habitual things like picking up your phone to check for messages or jump on social media?

Are you listening to what your body and soul needs in relation to God? Or are you listening to the stories your mind is conjuring up?

Do you need rest? Do you just 10 minutes to yourself with no technology or anything around you?

Can you form a new habit today to keep yourself present?

Maybe that looks like keeping your favorite small object in your pocket that you can grab onto, and use that as a positive trigger to bring you back to the present.

Maybe that looks like shutting your eyes for 30 seconds and deeply breathing if you notice your stress levels start to rise a bit.

You don’t have to go chasing thunderstorms (or have them chase you) to remind yourself of what truly being grounded in your body feels like (though if that tickles your fancy like it does for me, go for it).

You may not always choose your emotions as they come out, but you can choose how you frame an experience and how you respond to current, present moment happenings.

Let me know in the comments what ways you find yourself habitually doing that take you out of the present. Or, feel free to share some of your favorite techniques to help you be here now!

Presently with you in this moment,


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Corey is a freelance creative, writer, and born-again follower of Jesus Christ who enjoys deep conversation, excavating for deeper meanings of life, and uplifting others by helping them thrive in their own lives. He loves inspiring through writing or creating content, but also revels in the arts in its many forms.

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed therapist, practitioner, doctor, or lawyer. Any advice given that is potentially related to legal, therapeutic or medical professions is all in good faith, but should not be taken as professional advice. I speak from my experiences in hopes that it will help you and others take steps to create a better life. Please see the full disclaimer here for more information.

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