I love watching the graceful transition from Summer to Fall. Mother Nature takes her sweet time with such gradual, incremental changes we barely take notice. Dawn breaks a few seconds later and the sun sets a few seconds earlier, compressing each passing day as we crawl towards Ol’ Man Winter in these lazy Autumn days. But, inevitably, you can see it even feel it coming, the bright sunshine yielding to ominous dark clouds on the horizon.
I wish our Minds moved at such a slow, methodical speed. How convenient would it be to observe uh-oh, here’s comes a brooding tropical storm in the distance. Our Minds would operate like a Doppler radar system, tracking the visual up on the big screen inside your head, sounding the alarms to allow us ample time to hunker down or evacuate the premises to safety.
I am speaking metaphorically, of course, to the inner mental activity of “weather” we all endure almost daily. The “wind and waves and rain and storms” are the “anger and anxiety and rage and sadness” that life challenges us with. My poem The Weather Diaries captures my own mood swings:
Sometimes it rains inside my head
A gentle storm of soft rainfall
So soothing it strips me of my wherewithall…
Sometimes a rainbow of glorious colors
Of blues and pinks and impossible clarity
Will shine and illuminate for all to see…
Sometimes a fog rolls in my brain
A cloud bank that meanders so lazily
As it lays and lingers to capture my melancholy…
Sometimes there’s a flurry of wind and rain
A furious sweep that crashes and causes pain
Makes me wish for all things sunny again…
Sometimes there is no weather
No wind, no heat, no breeze
Just a deathly quiet calm of unease.
My emotional state at that time was one of feeling helpless to my moods, as if battered around on a tiny little lifeboat in a stormy sea. A wave of despair would come crashing down, interspersed with brilliant rays of the sun, only to give way to wind and rain before surrendering to a glorious rainbow. I would get rocked about in my small boat weekly, daily, sometimes even hourly, with no rudder or anchor to stabilize me as these emotional states unfolded.
This manic depiction is far more dramatic than what I experienced but hopefully drives my point home that I was neither in control or able to see the internal changes of my mental state. They would literally blindside me as I would get caught up in one storm after another. In other words, my Mind had no Doppler radar system and therefore helpless to my own internal weather system.
Through present moment awareness, you may not always be able to control the genesis of all negative emotions but now have the ability to manage them. You can visualize the storm manifesting inside yourself, building energy and momentum, swirling toward you. But now you are the captain of your ship, with the ability to deftly maneuver and navigate around the storm as you space and separation from your thoughts. You can steer out of harm’s way by observing the storm in your vast sea approaching and let it pass without getting caught up in it (translation: not clinging or attaching to thought). You are further emboldened with the concept of Impermanence that this too shall pass as does all temporary phenomena. The storms of life, big and small, will keep arising with dynamic weather shifts. But with conscious awareness, you can strive to be as graceful as Mother Nature in managing one change to the next as she slowly surrenders to Autumn.