How to ORIENT ourselves to prevent catastrophe

Zoe Weil is a blogger for Psychology Today (PT), and twice a month we share her blog posts here. Enjoy!

Last winter, I fell through the ice into the frigid Maine ocean.

My fall was not an accident.

While I didn’t purposely seek to submerge half my body in 35-degree water, I was so preoccupied that I ignored the obvious signs that the tide was coming in quickly, and I was in danger.

What preoccupied me wasn’t something upsetting. Nor was I thinking about the past or imagining the future. In fact, I was as present as I could be. I was on the ice because I was photographing the beautiful landscape.

Even the signs that the tide had come in captivated me. The dips in the ice surrounding me were changing color and texture, and just before I fell in, I was so mesmerized by rising bubbles in a watery hole next to me that I actually videotaped them, even though they were clear evidence that I was perched on thin ice.

While it crossed my mind that there shouldn’t be water in a hole beside me if the tide hadn’t come in, I allowed myself to believe that the water in the hole in front of me did not mean that there was water under the fragile ice on which I was standing. That I was capable of being so obtuse remains deeply unnerving.

psychology today