Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A few words about the Weather

One of the things I started doing as I practiced living in the moment was to carry an umbrella more often. I decided that since the weather is something I cannot control, that I wouldn't think about it, talk about it, or cancel plans because of it (except in the case of tornados—that's a different story). I'd just carry an umbrella so if it rained, I'd be prepared.

You'd be amazed by how much this changed things for me. I came to enjoy the present moment. I coped better with extreme weather. Living in the present stopped the inner chatter that lamented a string of hot, muggy days or a month of rain.

In the moment I was able to remember that in summer it's hot. To think it might be otherwise is delusional. And in winter, there will be cold and wind and maybe snow. Living in the moment reminded me that nothing lasts forever, and so I stopped thinking about the unpleasantness that comes with Mother Nature's mood swings.

I also noticed that this new practice put me in the minority. Talking about the weather is a pasttime for many. A lot of energy is expended on the topic. Small talk is incessant. I'm not much for small talk to begin with, so when I stopped talking about the weather, I got quiet. For longer periods of time. And it felt good. My energy reserves were increased by not talking about things I cannot control.

Using weather as a practice in presence caused me to pay attention to the weather as I was experiencing it and to enjoy whatever was presented to me.

All of this came in handy one Sunday afternoon a few weeks back when my sister and her sons were in town. The plan was to go to the zoo, but clouds indicated rain was a possibility. We went to the zoo anyway. We dressed our kids in their swimsuits and flip flops. I carried an umbrella, and my sister wore a rain jacket.

It was a glorious afternoon. Our children jumped in puddles without a care in the world. Their mothers weren't worrying over their shoes and socks getting wet and muddy. We were living in the moment and it was great.

As our visit was winding down, we squeezed in a quick visit to the zebras and big cats. Storm clouds moved in. We hopped on the zoo's train and rode it back to the exit near where our car was parked. While we were on the train, those storm clouds opened up over the zoo. The rain came down hard. At first we were sheltered by the roof of the train, but then the wind picked up and the rain blew sideways into the seats. My sister and I turned around to watch our children all three squeezed into one seat take in the spectacle. They gasped as the cold hit their backs and arms and the mist sprayed their faces. They giggled with delight at getting drenched. Their giggles made us giggle.

We got off at our stop and the rain was falling in sheets. Our swimsuit-clad children were impervious to the wet. My sister tightened her hood around her head, and I held tight to my umbrella. We walked to the gift shop in the rain.

On the car ride home we talked about the afternoon and what our favorite moments were. The train ride in the rain was mentioned more than once. We could have decided that the rain would dampen our trip to the zoo and decided not to go. If we had, we would have missed out on the train ride—the memory maker of the afternoon.

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