Chernobyl smolders and so do I. How about you?

pile of books beside sash window
Photo by Wendelin Jacober on

Earlier this week I learned that there are parts of the Chernobyl reactor that are still smoldering. The partial meltdown of the nuclear power plant took place April 26, 1986 with a fire that raged for eight days, bathing the surrounding area and a good portion of Western Europe in a radioactive cloud. Scientist are worried that the smoldering material, if left unchecked can lead to another meltdown.

The article tries to tone down the sense of alarm by pointing out that there is little chance that we can have another explosion like the first:

The threat can’t be ignored. As water continues to recede, the fear is that “the fission reaction accelerates exponentially,” Hyatt says, leading to “an uncontrolled release of nuclear energy.” There’s no chance of a repeat of 1986, when the explosion and fire sent a radioactive cloud over Europe. A runaway fission reaction in an FCM could sputter out after heat from fission boils off the remaining water. Still, Saveliev notes, although any explosive reaction would be contained, it could threaten to bring down unstable parts of the rickety Shelter, filling the NSC with radioactive dust.

I found the article disturbing and interesting. It wasn’t until later in the day that I realized that it was also saying something to me about parts of my life that remain smoldering in anger, regret, despair…you can name the challenging emotion. If left unchecked, I know these can easily reactivate, leading to more pain and suffering.

If you are like me and may have some radioactive neutrons floating around, hey, welcome. From my own experience and even from what we can see from the Chernobyl disaster, these can be worked with, engaged, and befriended in such a way that their reactivity is channeled into something less destructive and potentially something constructive.

The article reminded me that with enough skill and care, we can handle, even the diciest radioactive elements and avoid further damage and pain. Developing skills to check in, even when we are scared of what we may find, is powerful. There are many ways we can do this. Meditation and yoga are my daily go to practices I use to explore the reactor. Join me any time. We can take a look together.

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By Carlos Gonzalez

Carlos Gonzalez teaches English at Miami Dade College and yoga and wellness in the community through Miami Firm Body, the company Maribel (his wife) and he co-founded. He works with words, movement, and the body. His calling is to invite others to join him in the joy of searching within and finding the strength and courage to walk toward wholeness. Carlos is a spell caster, an educational shaman whose core mission is to transform grief into a source of possible beauty, vulnerability into strength, fear into wonder.

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