Can’t Blame It on the Weather…

+ summer Cant Blame Weather Oct 14 19497747_sBrilliant sunshine, rich blue skies, a few wispy clouds, high pressure/low humidity… this is my formula for ideal summer weather. And, atypically, amazingly, that was the weather we had most of this past summer in New England. There were few sticky days, no extended heat waves, and no pouring rain for days on end – our usual summer weather combination that can drive me to distraction. For my taste, this summer was nearly perfect – heavenly.

Because I work at home, not in a windowless office, I get to see the day, eat my lunch on my porch, step outside during a break. I notice the weather and am aware of its effect on me. When we’re in a sunny stretch, I’m energized. When it’s cloudy and rainy for several days in a row, my energy can drag and my spirits droop. A key factor affecting my mood is the humidity – too intense and I wilt, get cranky. I even find my ability to concentrate and function well can be challenged by the weather, and I sometimes fault the weather for my “off” days.

So, given the perfection of this summer’s weather, I was pulled up short one day while walking in my neighborhood to realize that I was striding along thinking, thinking, thinking – and relatively oblivious to the present moment I was in, the completely comfortable air I was moving through, the light cloud pattern decorating the sky – the here and now.

Hmmm…I sure couldn’t blame my lack of mindfulness on the weather that day!

There’s always something or other in our lives that has the potential to take us out of the present moment, throw us off, or make us lose our energetic alignment. From the truly acute to the not-so-serious, things come along, things happen. The challenge is to stay present, through all things. Meeting that challenge brings such rich gifts: a sense of centeredness, calm, heightened appreciation, and (these are my favorites) connection and communion with the spiritual dimension in everything.

I stopped in my tracks on my walk that day and brought my busy little monkey mind into the present. I had nothing to “blame” for losing track of the moment but my own lack of attention to where I was and what was around me.

Opening my senses, I brought my awareness to the sweet air and sunlight. My thinking slowed down. I took the proverbial deep breath and connected with my surroundings. The thoughts that had been my focus were tucked away for another time, when thinking about them would be productive. Immediately, my experience changed and I felt more centered and present.

Sorting out where our attention is best placed inwardly and outwardly is an interesting puzzle. I often get it backwards by being too absorbed inwardly, in my thoughts (which are usually caught up in the past or the future) and a bit insensitive to the sensory experience of the spaciousness and beauty on the outside. It’s also too easy for life’s outer situations and drama – and weather – to be my focus.

What solves the inner-outer puzzle for me is to bring the spiritual dimension into both aspects. Inward connection with my Highest Self, Essence, the Divine, anchors and centers me in the place I want to be. Outward attention and awareness is then seen and felt through the lens of Spirit.

Spiritual thinker Eckhart Tolle is a master teacher of being in the present. He says it so well: “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. As soon as you honor the present moment, unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease.”

For myself, asking a few questions helps: Am I here, in this moment? Am I in sensory and spiritual connection (as well as in my active mind)? Can I feel my spiritual alignment?

Simply posing these questions settles me down, reminds me of the moment I’m in, and restores me to my Self.

If ever there were ideal weather conditions to support my mood, my being present, and my spiritual growth, this was the summer. Irritability from the humidity and resisting uncomfortable weather were off the table as convenient distractions to blame. The perfect summer provided a good opportunity to see how present I could become. In fact, it continuously offered moments to joyfully connect with and be appreciative of each artful cloud, sunrise, and light breeze.

But, this summer may never be duplicated. The weather changes, as do our life situations and circumstances. Being in each moment, however, is an unchanging, constant spiritual practice with tremendous rewards. It is the simplest way of being. Simply here, now, present.

Comments

  1. Oh man, Janet. This is the best, the absolute best ‘advice.’ I like your take that both the inner and the outer can trip us up … and bring us back. Yes yes yes!

  2. Pamela Newton says:

    Dear Janet,

    Another Pam, me, also appreciated the flow of your words. Ah! What a pleasure it is to breathe in the soft warmth of the air and to reconnect to the tree of life inside and out.

    Pam Newton

  3. Thank you Janet for re-posting this wonderful inner-outer reflection. I had never thought about it in quite this way. But it’s so true, I can become absorbed either in my busy thinking, or get distracted by external events…I really like the way you express the balance in being here now, connected from within to without and then being able to experience it all as connected. Very, very helpful!

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