I wanted to write something this morning about passing storms and hope.
When we’re feeling bad it can often feel like there isn’t hope. Our problems appear very fixed and solid and it can feel like we don’t have the energy or wherewithal to overcome them.
We start drowning in the sea of our fear, worries, anger or hopelessness. We start to despair and think that we can’t cope with whatever we think it is that we need to deal with. This of course makes us feel even worse, and we judge ourselves for it. It can be easy for us to feel hopeless and for life to feel pointless.
When this happens it can also be easy to think there is something terribly wrong with us, which only adds to the already unhappy thoughts.
But this is actually so normal for all human beings.
We all have moods. Our moods go up and down and our thoughts come and go like the weather.
Naturally we all want to feel as good as possible, as much of the time as possible. But it isn’t sunny for anyone all of the time. Even the best climates have storms that roll through.
The problem comes when we identify with the storms so much, thinking that they mean something really bad about us or our lives. We can put a lot of meaning onto what is a very normal human experience.
It can be really interesting to notice how much thinking we add onto any storms that pass through. ‘I feel bad’ can become ‘I feel bad. I wonder why. It must be because of this person or that situation? Do I need to make a change? I’m sick of feeling bad. What does this mean? What’s wrong with me? This means I’m x, y or z. I need to sort this out. I’m so annoyed that I’m feeling bad. Why do things have to be so hard? If only this person did this or this wasn’t happening I’d be ok!’
We can take the storms that pass through our minds so personally when really they’re just like the weather. We might not love it when it’s raining or stormy outside but we wouldn’t start analyzing why it was raining and we definitely wouldn’t think it meant anything bad about us. So it can be fun to realise that exactly the same thing can be said for the thoughts that pass through as well. We didn’t put them there, we’re not responsible for them and they don’t mean anything about us. So we can let them pass on by, just like the weather.
We generally know that the sun will return. We don’t need to make that happen, and we don’t need to make ourselves feel more positive either. We can just do our bit by not giving too much attention to the stormy thinking that passes through.
We can step away from our thinking and let it fade into the background, rather than focusing on it more.
We don’t have to take the painful thoughts seriously. We really don’t. We all have free will and we can choose which thoughts we pay attention to and how much meaning we give things.
At times our thinking can feel really compelling. It feels as if we don’t have a choice. But it can be fun to experiment with how we feel if we do start dismissing thoughts that don’t feel good, and stop taking them as seriously.
When we wait for the storm to pass and take really good care of ourselves in the process the sun will be out again before we know it.
That to me seems tremendously hopeful. We don’t have to do anything when it’s stormy. There is nothing to fix. We don’t have to panic and scramble around to make things better. They’ll get better on their own when we get out of the way.
Our problems can look insurmountable when the internal weather is stormy. It’s hard to see solutions when we’re in this low state of mind. So we do ourselves the biggest favour when we don’t try to find solutions until the outlook is clear again, which it always will be. Then new and brighter things will occur to us.
So let’s work with the weather and with our states of mind, to make life as easy and joyful as possible.
It can feel really hard to trust when there is so much turbulence passing through. It suddenly feels like this is fixed, permanent and more powerful than us. We forget that even the worst of storms always pass.
So it seems helpful to start taking more notice of the fact that it does always pass. To notice when the sun is shining again and how different things can look when you’re in a different state of mind.
We’re designed to bounce back to clear seeing and innate health. It’s our default. The less seriously we take the painful thoughts that enter uninvited, the sooner we see that again for ourselves, and the sooner we can marvel at the fact that nothing has changed, yet everything is different.
The beauty of the human mind and system!
So I leave you with the question ‘What if there was so much less to do than we thought?’