According to the calendar, we're supposed to be past April's showers and into the sunny month of May. At least that's the conventional wisdom regarding the weather, but not perhaps for the seasons of the heart. When it comes to our emotions, relationships and deepest desires, storms can break out at almost anytime.
Most of us accept that life, like a temperate climate, has predictable seasons that also include unexpected weather. Forecasts are best guesses based on reasonable assumptions, but guesses nonetheless because the unfolding of time is dynamic. Likewise, changing emotions are implicit within the rhythms of inner growth. Mostly the ups and downs are manageable; sometimes they're not.
I prefer to live in regions that experience all seasons. I love the variety and don't much mind getting wet because, deep down, I trust in change. You know, even the worst storms end. And yes, that means that the halcyon days of summer must also pass in time. But for now, it's still spring and a lot of us are getting wet.
Maybe there's trouble building like storm clouds on the horizon at work, or your relationship is on rocks or even already shipwrecked. You know that the rain is going to come. And yes, you're going to get wet. But then again, there's wet and then there's WET, whether we're talking about rain or tears.
When it rains, we get wet. But we don't have to linger in the downpour, and there's no reason to drown. So what to do in the rainy season of spring or the tearful times of life? A few simple strategies can help:
- Remember that this too shall pass. Everything (and I mean everything) changes. Whether or not we like it. Good times end. Bad times end. The sun is going to shine again. We just don't know "when."
- Don't worry about the "when." Maybe the rains will stop today, or maybe like Noah, you are in for a flood. Shift your focus from the future to the present, and concentrate on "what is" as opposed to "what might be."
- Be mindful. Take a breath and pause. Now, observe what's happening. Okay, take another breath. Now decide what to do next (because by now, what's next is already almost here).
- Know that your reality is yours. Other people see things their way, and their way is real for them (even it seems delusional to you). Don't let their storms crash in on you -- let them get wet under their own clouds. (Our own storms are more than enough, and we don't need anyone else's.)
- Run through the raindrops. You're still going to get wet. Of course. But you don't need to walk slowly and prolong the deluge. You cannot avoid the drops, you can only chose how long you are going to be out in the storm.
- Don't complain, and don't engage in self-pity. Self-pity just makes us moldy.
- Look for the rainbow. There is one, always.
Oh, and one last thing: So long as you're alive, you need to keep moving. That way, if you're getting wet, at least you'll stay warm. The idea is to float, so you don't sink. Swim, so you don't flounder. And pay attention, so you'll be fast to notice the first signs of clearing skies.
For more by Deborah Schoeberlein, click here.
For more on mindfulness, click here.