When life's storms blow in
Displayed prominently in our lounge room is an old but treasured sign which says;
I bought the sign for my husband (but it was really for me) when we left the hospital after we nearly lost my 4 year old son. We were struggling to rejoin life when we stumbled across it in a tiny antique homewares store on the central coast. It seemed to so accurately sum up to me how to move ahead.
Don’t wait for the storm to pass, it whispered in the depths of my heart. Life is full of challenges and you’ll be waiting forever if you hold out for everything to be perfect.
I had always felt that I had weathered the unpredictability of life quite well. But when our personal hurricane hit and the heavens really opened up, I was surprised to find myself washed away by the torrents. For a while I lost the connection to my true self and succumbed to my fear. I holed up inside and waited for the storm to pass. When the deluge eased, I continued to wait. And when it slowed to a drizzle, I waited still. Being stressed and worried became the norm and I was constantly anticipating the next downpour.
I felt that I needed a beacon of light to bring me through and searched in vain for the perfect blue skies signalling that life could continue as it had before.
I had always felt that I had weathered the unpredictability of life quite well. But when our personal hurricane hit and the heavens really opened up, I was surprised to find myself washed away by the torrents.
I didn’t realise at the time that the bright light I’d been waiting for was actually my own. What I really needed was not for the rain to stop but to start noticing the opportunities for happiness even amidst my anguish. And there were so many. The bubbling laughter that came with the tears. The comforting words and nourishing food brought by concerned friends. The quiet loving hugs we shared for hours with our kids. The sun that continued to rise, day after day after day. I came to learn that it is not only okay to find joy in the midst of suffering, it is essential to our survival and is in fact the true nature of our souls.
For me, learning to dance in the rain is not just about being with life as it is. Its about enjoying life as it is, with all its imperfections. With this comes the freedom to really live, not in spite of the pain, but together with it.
Lao-Tse, author of the oldest existing book of Taoism, encourages us not to turn away from the ‘world of dust’ but rather to ‘join the dust of the world’. Happiness comes not from trying to escape the human experience, but by embracing it.
Meditation offers us a simple way to connect with this truth. When we are fully present, we can appreciate the Beauty of this moment while accepting the reality of the pain. Our hearts are not broken, but broken open so we can learn to hold both the suffering and the joy, together.
So although things are not perfect in my world, I believe that they are perfect just as they are. I don’t deny that I, like most, am often struggling. But I’m no longer waiting for that particular storm to pass. I’m already out there, wildly dancing in the rain.
Next post: Meditating on the heart
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