There’s an old saying here in Oregon. “The only people to predict the weather are fools and newcomers.” Guilty on the first count. It’s March 1st, and I had planned to wake up to warm spring breezes and beds of daffodils swaying. Instead I get this blanket of pure white beauty tucked softly over the hills. Lovely. But hardly what I planned. Fooled again.
The last couple of days the weather has brought other surprises. Sleet. Heavy winds. Chilling to the bones. I didn’t like that surprise. But one thing that Oregon has taught me is not to take the weather personally.
I’m noticing the same thing about feelings. We humans have these pesky emotions that seem to come through just like weather fronts. When we don’t take them personally, each one of them leaves a particular gift or shows us something we need to see. And then it moves on.
Emotions are problematic for many of us because they’re unpredictable. And because most of us learned early that they can be dangerous, we tend to ignore them (often at our own peril).
There’s another saying about the weather here. “If you don’t like it, wait a few minutes.”
I’ve noticed how very true this is for emotions. When I just notice where they are in my body, giving them their time, they seem to move and shift. A little tightness in the throat. Moving to the chest. A constriction there. I breathe. It changes.
I first discovered this emotional weather front when I grieved my father’s death years ago. A cloud burst would enter my body, pregnant with sad energy. I would cry. Hard. Then it would leave. like a tropical cloudburst, allowing me sweet release. With an open heart I would go about the business of receiving friends, planning the memorial service. Then…another front would move in, clearing the way for whatever was next.
The problem of emotions arises when our minds attempt to manipulate to control them. To welcome some and disallow others. Preferring sunny days, we lose a more nuanced reality. We become perky and inauthentic, but not someone who is able to connect deeply and honestly. We miss one of the biggest gifts of emotions: their ability to connect us from the heart.
If most of us here voted, we’d probably choose sunny Southern California weather most days. But we can’t, and our weather is full of subtlety and surprises. The beautiful result is Oregon’s acclaimed lush and verdant landscape. Full. Rich. Just like a life open to feeling.
What about you? What do you notice about the gift of feeling your feelings? How has it enriched your life to notice your emotional weather without taking it personally? It’s a deep practice. That’s what I notice.