We all accept that no one controls the weather. Good sailors learn to read it carefully and respect its power. They will avoid storms if possible, but then caught in one, they know when to take down the sails, batten down the hatches, drop anchor and ride things out, controlling what is controllable and letting go of the rest. Training, practice, and a lot of firsthand experience in all sorts of weather are required to develop such skills so that they work for you when you need them. Developing skill in facing and effectively handling the various “weather conditions” in your life is what we mean by the art of conscious living.
I just love this quote from mindfulness teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn. We have our internal weather systems, as well as the surrounding weather patterns outside of us. Sometimes a storm comes out of nowhere, or two different weather streams crash into each other, catching us off guard.
Maybe you're feeling so bright and sunny inside that whatever gray clouds or tumultuous winds might swirl around you, you're able to maintain your internal source of warmth and light. Sometimes an unexpected rain shower can be a soothing balm on a humid afternoon; and too much sun can leave you feeling parched and dry.
The seasons and weather patterns offer useful metaphors for thinking about how we are feeling emotionally and where we are in the season of our lives. For example, colleague recently sent me an article about new research on how we can influence our happiness, and there's actual data available about it from the Greater Good Science Center.
What are the internal and external weather conditions in your life right now? Are you in need of some cool shade, a sun hat or a sturdy umbrella?
There's a cloud
A blue sky darkening
That veils the light of the sun
And foretells the rain
But there's a bird
There are birds
And some are singing
To greet every new day that may come
Like the first of spring
–lyrics from "Spring" by Tracy Chapman