When The Lights Go Out

by Belinda Munoz on February 25, 2011


Today, I’m doing a cyberhome swap with Rudri Bhatt Patel of Being Rudri as part of Amy’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor series.  Rudri is a blogging buddy of mine who writes some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read on a blog.  I’m thrilled to host her here as I think you’ll enjoy her powerful writing.  When you have a moment, click on over to her blog, check out my guest post called Getting Cozy with Contradictions then read more of Rudri’s thought provoking words on life, love, death, career and motherhood.


There wasn’t a major thunderstorm or news of a car crash, but last night there was an electrical outage in our entire neighborhood. In an instant, the fan stopped humming, the air conditioning wasn’t blowing its air, and there were no sounds of falling ice in the refrigerator. It was amazing how quiet the house became without its usual suspects stirring up some noise.

As I walked in the dark, I fumbled for the flashlight in the drawer. Once I found it, we headed outside to the patio. It was a clear night, with an almost full moon which offered temporary light outside. We saw people mulling around, their identity unknown with just a silhouette.

My gaze turned to the sky, taking refuge under the stars. I struggle to live in the moment, but with no electricity, I embraced this forced silence. Everything was still as my mind turned to my thoughts. I wasn’t plugged into anything. The television was off, the wifi disabled, and the lights gone. I couldn’t busy myself with chores in the house or create activities for myself. Instead, I sat with my husband, observing stars, trying to explain the different constellations to my four year old.

It was nice, this temporary reprieve from constant motion. And for the first hour, I appreciated it. But then I started feeling a little irritated. It was a hot night, the temperature about 98 degrees, the air in the desert, dry and unrelenting. As hour two approached without electricity, bedtime approached, but I couldn’t sleep. I need air circulating to sleep, so as I lay in my bed, my mind started churning again. I thought about the food spoiling, the fact that my whole schedule the next day would be off because I couldn’t get to sleep, and my irritation that the flashlight was starting to become a permanent companion.

As hour three approached, my mind shifted again, thinking about people who live without electricity everyday. I was astounded to learn that 1.6 billion people, a quarter of humanity, live without electricity. That number is so large, so vast, I can’t even quantify it. It made me sad thinking about this. I felt guilty about my earlier irritation, knowing that my life in the dark was only temporary. The lights would come on eventually. And they did.

Four hours later, the fan hummed again, the air condition revved up its organs, and there was light everywhere. The house filled again with its ordinary chatter. I felt the cool breeze of the fan on my face and the gust of air blowing from the vent above me. I settled under the covers again, thinking about the various shifts in my mind’s thoughts: welcoming quiet, irritated by inconvenience, guilt about my irritation, and relief of things moving back to normalcy.

There were lessons in embracing the darkness, but I realized because of my conflicting emotions, I have so much to learn, so much to appreciate about my life.

I am still fumbling, even when there is light.
What lessons have you learned when you are inconvenienced? How do you deal with interruptions in normalcy?

A special thanks to Belinda for allowing me to occupy her space. It is certainly an honor, as I am a big fan of Belinda’s musings and poetry.


This is a re-print from Being Rudri.
top image by watel13

{ 2 trackbacks }

Tweets that mention When The Lights Go Out — the halfway point -- Topsy.com
February 25, 2011 at 10:25 am
Release Stormy Tension with Musical Vibrations | Liberating Choices
February 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 25, 2011 at 6:31 am

Thanks for letting me be your neighbor!


2 Belinda February 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm

My pleasure!


3 rob white February 25, 2011 at 6:35 am

Hi Rudri,
It never ceases to amaze me how shocking it is when we lose electricity even for a little while. I’ve made it a habit to daily give appreciation for one thing I could easily take for granted. It’s easy to appreciate a beautiful day… I have found it empowering to sincerely give appreciation and thanks to something as ’simple’ as running water… or the fact that my car starts… the list goes on and on. Thanks for sharing.


4 Belinda February 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm

So true, Rob. Gratitude. For so many things. Reading Rudri’s words also remind me that these modern conveniences, in some ways, serve to confine us rather than free us. I know for me, I feel lost when I have server problems or if blackberry’s having connection issues. We’re so dependent on external power (to feel whole, to be productive, to keep things connected and moving along) that I wonder if this somehow takes away from our ability to build internal strength. What guides us when the lights go out?


5 Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm


Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I agree there is so much beauty around us and there is so much that we can and should be grateful for. It requires an awareness of appreciating all of the conveniences around us.


6 Eva Evolving February 25, 2011 at 11:22 am

I need a fan to sleep too! That combination of white noise and air movement is awesome.

I love this evolution you describe – how your thinking and emotions move through different stages, and you see things in a different perspective. My car broke down last week, and I was upset and aggravated, worried about money, annoyed with the inconvenience. But eventually I felt thankful. Thankful that we have money to afford the repairs, thankful that I can ride the train to work, thankful that I even have a car at all.

Thanks for this post, Rudri – I love both you and Belinda, so happy to see you switching homes today!


7 Belinda February 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Hi Eva! So good to see you here again.

So much of our sense of security is wrapped up in these machines and gadgets that keep things moving for us and it’s a big deal when it all stops, even if only for a few moments. But as you say, what’s a stash of cash if not to be used for emergencies like the one you described. How much worse would it have been if you didn’t have it?


8 Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 27, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Thanks so much Eva.
I do think it is pretty amazing how are perspectives change when we really extract ourselves from that aggravating moment. I do think part of the evolution lies in attitude.

I’m glad to “see” you again! And am looking forward to more of your posts.


9 Cathy February 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm

We are definitely spoiled. I often think about the “olden days” when there was no indoor plumbing. That would be far worse. I could live without electricity. It would take some getting used to, but I am a creature of the outdoors, a camper, backpacker. A lot of it is just what you are used to and what you are prepared for.


10 Marci | Liberating Choices February 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm

“stumbling in the light & embracing darkness” – welcome Rudri!

I have so many blessings, it’s hard to think of being without anything. The first thing that comes to mind is when our shower faucet broke and I couldn’t fix it/couldn’t shower. It was only for a day. Initially panicked, but then relieved to get spend less time getting ready for the day. I’m sure I wouldn’t have made it more than 2 days before I took my shower at a friend’s house. Thankful for running water-clean water. Easy to take it all for granted.


11 Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 27, 2011 at 7:33 pm


Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I think it is slowing down to realize that the inconvenience is only temporary. Knowing and believing that moment will pass is what helps me through it. And you are right, it is so easy took take conveniences for granted.


12 Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities February 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

“I am still fumbling, even when there is light.”

Such beautiful honesty. Fumbling and stumbling. Light and dark. Happiness and regret. This is life, no?


13 Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 27, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Thanks Aidan for stopping by. It is life, but so hard to get sometimes.


Leave a Comment

Previous post: What Makes You Come Alive?

Next post: Excellence, Beauty and Reality: What Gives?