Healing from a Hurricane – Part 1, Realizing the Hard Truth

Experiencing Hurricane Ian by Angel Carlton

"Life is merely a series of hurricanes, 
some are just more destructive than others."
~Angel Carlton

It’s been 3 sobering weeks since Hurricane Ian swept through SW Florida causing devastation beyond our wildest imagination.  This certainly was not in my plan when I relocated to paradise to start my new life in April of 2021.  

As an author, much of my writings are on the topic of navigating change so that we transform into a greater version of ourselves.  I like to think of myself as someone well-versed on the topic of personal transformation as life shifts accelerate with its array of unpredictable circumstances.  This, however, was one I was not anticipating and can honestly say, it has me reflecting on the cycle of change through a new lens of reality.

What I have come to realize in the past couple of weeks is that experiencing a natural disaster is one of the most extraordinary specimens of transformation and a tremendous opportunity for growth that life has to offer.  Sure, I feel the deepest empathy when I observe natural disasters taking place in other parts of the world, but it is extremely humbling when it happens to you and your home life, work life, social life and your entire community is ripped out from under you and destroyed in a single day.  

Like everyone else in Florida, we closely watched the weather as the hurricane made its way up the Gulf of Mexico.  On Tuesday, September 27th, we made the spontaneous decision to head to my parent’s home after our area was called to evacuate.  Although at that point Ian was making its way toward Tampa, we felt getting off the coast and making our way inland a few more miles would be a safer choice.  So, we secured our home for some high winds and packed a small overnight bag with a few toys for our puppy and headed to Estero for some peace of mind.

Wednesday, when Ian decided to juke hard right toward Fort Myers, we watched television with grave concern.  We kept in close contact with our neighbors who decided to “ride the storm out” in their homes and they said the water was rising so quickly they were lucky to have evacuated when they did.  Unfortunately, not everyone was as fortunate. We realized our home life was in danger when we saw the water surge flood through the Naples area.  It was at that point we knew that our waterfront property which rested on a beautiful canal in Cape Coral was in trouble.  Shortly after that the internet went out and we were now blindfolded with whatever was happening all around us.  Fortunately, my parents are on the same grid as a local emergency shelter, so the power flickered throughout the day but was never completely lost unlike our neighboring friends who had lost power for weeks.  Phone signal was lost and family members watching the storm from afar were doing their best to keep us informed of Ian’s next move.  Meanwhile, the sounds of the hurricane shutters violently banging from the 100+ mile per hour winds were absolutely horrifying and will forever be engraved in my memory. We did our best to keep our 6-month-old puppy occupied by playing with her although she was vomiting from fear; poor little thing was expressing much of what we too were feeling.

We had no idea what we would wake up to and went to bed with a somber anticipation of the marks Ian would leave behind.  Waking up to blue sky and a perfect Floridian day, we stepped outside to take our dog for a walk dodging trees and debris laying amidst the streets, pool cages torn to pieces and neighbors gathering to check on one another.  We wanted nothing more than to head to our home to assess the damages there, but we couldn’t get out of my parent’s neighborhood until Friday when they removed the massive trees that were laying uprooted in the middle of the street. 

Friday morning, the sounds of chainsaws clearing the streets gave us hope that we could give it a try to make our way to see our home.  Needless to say, the drive was solemn as we witnessed the destruction get worse the closer we got to Cape Coral. Traffic lights were down, literally swinging in the middle of intersections, cars cautiously driving through chaos, sirens of rescue vehicles raced the roads, homes and businesses barely standing, missing rooftops made for an unrecognizable drive we’ve made so many times.  

Tears began to flow as we crossed the Cape Coral bridge and witnessed boats upside down that mysteriously made their way to land.  Our beautiful little community looked like a war zone; like an atomic bomb was lit as not a building or tree in sight was untouched.  It’s one thing to watch this on television and another to see it in 3rd dimensional reality…my eyes are seeing what my mind could not quite comprehend.  My heart continued to pound as we drove down our main street, dodging trees, and debris along the way.  We pulled up to the house and saw that it was still intact.  The roof was missing some shingles, the fence was torn down and noticed some of the fence panels blew through the screen and into the dirt-filled pool but felt a sigh of relief thinking that isn’t as bad as some of what we’ve witnessed, at least until we walked to the rear of the home and saw our boat taking a nosedive into the canal with a palm tree on its side across the dock, the pool and lanai filled with river water and debris.   The debris splattered the entire newly painted home leaving a 3-foot water line indicating an approximate 8-12 foot surge from the canal, lending us with great concern of what we would encounter on the inside.  

We slowly opened the door to see if perhaps we were one of the lucky ones.  Initially we were unsure but then as we splattered through the puddles of receding water in our living room, it didn’t take long for reality to set in.   We stood in awe realizing everything in it was completely destroyed from the nearly 2 feet of water that flowed through our home trashing everything it touched.  We were slowly grasping as the reality that we were not coming home any time soon.  So, we grabbed a few things we were able to salvage, went through the precious, irreplaceable items like photos that were forever lost and slowly began to settle into our new reality. 

Everything is gone. Just. Like. That. Our happy life in paradise has been brutally disrupted but we have one thing Ian could not take and that is our love.  We have one another to hug and a shoulder to cry on whenever we need one (and believe me, there have been plenty of tears), we’ve been blessed with my wonderful parents who have provided us with a place to lay our heads as we come to terms with it all and we have the generosity and support of so many friends and family that have brought comfort.  Through all this I realize that love is more powerful than any hurricane.  Love will prevail over fear…fear of loss, fear of the unknown, fear of destruction, and fear of all the sudden change all at once.  Love, relationships, and faith are the things that storms cannot take from us. 

So, on behalf of our temporarily tainted piece of paradise, take the stuff, the material things, if you must, Ian. However, like the buildings you washed away, the beaches & bridges you’ve torn apart, and the trees you’ve broken to pieces, we may be bruised, but we will survive, we will grow from this, and we will reinvent ourselves to become better & stronger than before…because we believe in the power of love and you can never take that from us.


Angel Carlton is a published author of Dedicated to Destiny, a professional speaker, a personal growth & leadership development facilitator, and a former professional NBA cheerleader for the Chicago Bulls, Angel is an advocate for emotional/mental well-being and today she enthusiastically cheers on humanity for conscious change.

Regardless of the “hurricane” you may be going through, you’re invited to follow Healing From a Hurricane Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100086499379535

From Struggle to Striving

By Angel Carlton

“The deeper the pain, the greater the GROWTH.” ~Angel Carlton

Several years ago I experienced some major life changes and went through some tough times.  I meditated and journaled on a regular basis to manage my emotions and keep my sanity. Through those journal entries came a consistent message of hope and an explanation of where I’ve been, where I am heading and the most profound idea, why it was happening. I captured these messages and created a framework so that I can better understand the process I was experiencing during each life-altering change being tossed my way. From there, I was guided to write a book with this message and seek a publisher.  So, I did just that and the very first publisher (Changemakers Books) that I sent my proposal to accepted it which, from what I understand, never happens! I am proud to say the time has come and it’s finally hitting the shelves of booksellers all over the world.

I have to be honest here, although the content of this book came through me several years ago with the intention to help others navigate life’s rapid tides of change the same way it helped me, I have continued to experience incredible growth since then. Despite what you may see on my Facebook posts, life’s challenges didn’t stop showing up.  The truth is, change always in motion.  And the more I talk to people, the more I realize so many of us are experiencing the same struggles, stresses and symptoms of transformation. Studies show the pace of change is doubling every year and because our brains are not programmed to adapt to change, it creates stress. Just look at the news! 

It was when the publisher recently sent me my first copy of my own book and read it in its entirety that I gained the perspective I needed for me to prevail through the past few years. It’s almost as if I wrote the book to my future self, the person I am today who needed to hear these messages again. I share this because I truly feel this message is meant to be shared. My purpose is clear, to help people navigate change so that they transform into the next greatest vision of themselves…starting with myself.

So, as I am in the process of introducing my baby to the world, please join me in the celebration of welcoming my new book, Dedicated to Destiny, A Pursuit of Personal Growth, Prosperity & Purpose. It’s about adapting to change in this crazy, hectic world of ours. The book explains how to maintain our focus on a greater purpose, a grander vision of ourselves, to help us get through those tough times and thrive as a result of it all. I introduce the 6 Stages of Transformation that helped me move through some of life’s most horrific challenges, a natural process that if we pay attention to it becomes a powerful life tool.

I remain a student of this process and the more change that occurs in my life, the easier it gets…almost to the point where I embrace it and become wildly curious about the outcome.  There is a confidence in knowing my struggles are part of the journey toward a striving life experience. I invite you to explore the messages for yourself and share them with those around you so that we may create a more compassionate, kind and caring world. Visit:  Dedicated to Destiny to grab your copy.

#ibelieveinyou #changeisgood #dedicatedtodestiny
Continue reading “From Struggle to Striving”