Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.
Recently areas around where I’m staying, that usually don’t see rain, have been flooded, and those locations that often expect precipitation are experiencing drought. This isn’t abnormal and different locations around the world have experienced great upheaval due to meteorological conditions, yet it’s the first time in a while that friends have asked “Are you OK?” because of the changed system and shifted elements.
So while it is said that everyone talks about the weather but no one seems to do anything about it, I’ll aim to connect the outer elements with the inner climate of our mind and personal mental, emotional and physical conditions.
No Bad Weather?
“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces up, snow is exhilarating; there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.” John Ruskin
I just discovered a company out of New Brunswick called Wear Your Label that sell clothes that start a conversation about mental and emotional issues.
With logos like “Sad but Rad” and “It’s okay not to be okay”, or “stressed but well dressed” these cute clothes share the idea that our internal environment needn’t always be sunny and clear.
We have challenging moments in our lives that test us (another shirt, struggle/strength highlights that balancing act) and as I’m often repeating, our emotional landscape is an important part of our journey in life. It gives us variation and direction for our needs and wants.
While sadness asks us to fill a need that has been opened through loss, stress may force us to reevaluate our priorities and our resources.
And even though our emotional scenery appears as unalterable as the storms and showers of the weather, we can begin to take control of our internal tempests in small but powerful ways.
A feeling is not a definition: sometimes we mistakenly say “I’m angry” or “I’m depressed”, rather than “I FEEL angry, depressed or otherwise…” We are many things, yet our feelings are temporary (even when they don’t feel that way) and a valid expression, not necessarily a fact or a defining quality. It’s true that we may have the ‘tendency’ to go to a particular emotion – this may be a coping mechanism that has served us, broadly, in the past, which, at times, may not be the best go-to option on all occasions.
There is nothing WRONG with feelings: Sometimes those who have an inclination to feel or express emotions more readily feel weak, or stupid, or irrational… Without any feelings our judgment is impaired and we may miss some of the ‘juiciness’ that comes from emotional variation. However, sometimes our patterning may not be USEFUL to us any longer, and knowing that may ask us to stir the pot of ‘usual stuff’ to re-pattern or discover some alternative ways of being, doing, and feeling.
Once the need is fulfilled, the feeling can pass: Just like a sudden rain storm can change the pressure in the system, a feeling, when listened to,(for example finding justice when angered, or discovering meaningful connections when lonely) will not remain – it has found its expression and is done. And while it may feel like that feeling will never end (like the rains that have fallen heavily and uncharacteristically near me), they do.
Predicting Our Environment, Forecasting Our Personal Climate
“Red at night, sailors’ delight. Red in the morning, sailors take warning.”
While this sea rhyme now has a general, while not exact, explanation in meteorology, it was a rule of thumb that was used to predict the weather while sailing, centuries ago. I recently listened to an excerpt of the book “The Weather Experiment” by Peter Moore that told the story of the pioneers in weather forecasting. They changed the conversation on the ‘heavens’ to a more scientific projection of the short-term future in the ‘skies’.
While our green-screened meteorologists on the evening news are a common sight, their predecessors challenged the status quo and revolutionized travel and trade by getting a more substantiated glimpse into tomorrow.
Sometimes we, in our mental or emotional flooding (or drought), have a challenge to put together the pieces that may help us project a safer path through the currents and tradewinds that may be presented on our journey. At other times, when the weather is ‘fine’, we fail to anticipate or prepare for future turns of climate. So what are some tips that may transform our ability to sail unharmed through the gamut of emotional stills and squalls?
Recognise Patterns: Just as Admiral FitzRoy coordinated a large number of data points to create a trending map of weather shifts, we (sometimes with outside help) can start to identify the little pieces to make a bigger picture of our deeper needs and goals. When we do, we can start to focus on the “barometer dip” that can calculate a future change in climate. Many of these have been part of our reactions and repertoire for a LONG time, so identifying them may require some focus and time; yet having that blueprint can create an early warning system that can help you in times of mental or emotional tension.
Don’t Lose the Lesson: Once a storm has passed, especially if we have been taught that emotional outbursts are not productive or acceptable, we may choose to push under or forget the episode. However, when we look at emotions as our important yet delicate instrumentation, we can let go of shame and look at the situation as a piece in a puzzle – our internal puzzle that needs our attention and compassion to put together. Emotions tend to remain with us even if we are ‘accidentally’ holding on to them with shame or disgust.
Find Safe Habour: Who do we trust or who do we go to in a tempest (ours or others)? Sometimes it pays to look at our environment to see whether we are in a location or situation that supports our health and well-being. Just as living in ‘tornado alley’ increases your chances of experiencing that weather pattern, there may be jobs, relationships or other circumstances that create the perfect conditions for a ‘perfect storm’ we don’t really want. Finding a network of others,who can move us forward safely and gently, can be valuable in our personal and professional lives.
“There’s no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing,” was a general saying in the Toronto four-season bicycle commuting community, and can be extended to those who surround us – others (like the right clothing) can warm or protect us when we ride along on our own.
To Weather = To Endure
“Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get.” Mark Twain
Situations in life, like the weather, can create havoc and do damage; however, our ability to rebuild from the inside out gives an indicator of our future ability to weather future storms. Acknowledging that there may be less-than-ideal days is a first step. Learning more about feelings and their role in guiding and directing us is another tool we can use when the conditions, for ourselves and others, change. Working through past patterns and reactions or finding someone who can help you with it, may help you to forecast your own internal responses and bearing. If we can help, please contact us to move through the inevitable variations in the weather of our lives.
Finally –while I sometimes forget this for myself, I love to be reminded of the saying, “We should take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.”
You have weathered the weather until right now, and have more information, experience and insight than ever before to endure any storms in the future.
The forecast looks better and better… Jennifer