All that you think is rain is not

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012 in Blog, Mindfulness Training | 0 comments

All that you think is rain is not

Wet, wet, wet! Another rainy, gray day here in Bellingham, which comes as no surprise to the local ‘Hamsters, to be sure. But, with less than a week remaining before the longest day of the year and the birth of summer (and the minutes of daily sunlight dwindling from that point forward), the natives are getting restless, including myself.

A friend of mine and I have been text messaging each other lately on days such as these, attempting to console one another. In reading these notes, one would think that we were living under Sylvia Plath’s bell jar:

Her: Where is our F*$%ing sun?
Me: Must. Get. Out. Of. Here.

. . . Speak of the devil– I  just had a phone call from that same friend, who I’ve been planning to see today for a walk. I told her that I was in the midst of writing a blog entry about how to remain happy when the weather looks like this:

Her: And do you have any ideas on that?
Me: Well, I haven’t gotten to that part yet.

I appreciate your patience, as I know you don’t have all day.  I promise, I’m getting there.

We had a glorious day here for the first part of yesterday, and whenever that happens, heels click in midair and faces light up like the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center. People smile at each other as they walk by, and at any given moment, someone just might break out in a Gershwin tune.

But then, today’s forecast included heavy rain and potential arrival of the Ark.  For those of us who got out while the sun was shining on us yesterday, we were grateful, and for those of us who didn’t, pouting ensued.

Okay, enough kvetching.  Especially because I’m supposed to be helping here!

All of us who complain about the weather have chosen to live, to love, to work, to play, to raise children or Rat Terriers or radishes here, in the Pacific Northwest. And there must be something right about that, otherwise, we would have chosen something different. Of course, in any moment, we are free to make a different choice (and that’s a whole different blog entry), but if we are choosing to stay here, how can we make a gift from what each day brings, rain or shine?. How can days like this one still be full of joy and magic? How, in this moment, can we love what is, even as “what is” pours down on us relentlessly?

So, without further ado– the homework:

Put your raincoat on, and take a walk in the rain, even though you don’t want to.

You won’t regret it.  Okay, well you might.  I can’t really make any guarantees, but, I don’t think you’ll regret it.

So, where was I?  Right– we’re walking, we’re walking. . .

And while you’re on your walk, examine all the sensations coming up as your hair gets wet, as your pants stick to your thighs, as the raindrops mix with the scent of the wild roses on either side of the trail and create an ambrosia only present when the rain makes an appearance.  Notice the quiet that comes with the rain; how the few people you pass (who are lunatic enough to be out walking as well) are still smiling, and how you may feel the corners of your own mouth tug upward as well.

Feel your heart beating, and your breath moving through your nose down into your throat and then in and out of your lungs. Express internal appreciation for that hard working muscle that, until we die, never stops pumping, for your body’s ability to breathe you, and for being able to move your feet out of the puddle that you didn’t see a moment ago and stepped in while you were focusing on your heartbeat. (Sorry, my bad.)

Feel what it’s like to know that you got outside and played in the rain, even though you hadn’t wanted to do so previously.  And when you’re done, realize that you have just allowed a cascade of feel-good hormones and neurotransmitters to be released throughout your body, and that you are, even now, at a subtle level, benefiting from that process.

The truth is, the rain is just a metaphor.  Getting out into life in the midst of what is annoying or difficult or painful is an important life skill in dealing with matters much more challenging than several days of torrential rain, such as being fired, or breaking up, or getting the call from the doctor that no one wants to get.  The secret is to see that the beauty of the world is always there, tempting us like ripe, low fruit, waiting to be plucked, tasted and savored. But first, we must be willing to take the perspective that nothing less than miraculous is happening, no matter what’s happening.

“All that you think is rain is not. Behind the veil, angels sometimes weep.”  – Rumi

Be well,

Jessica

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