Saturday, July 5, 2014

Controlling the Weather

"A Summer Storm"

Lots of people have been experiencing some pretty "bad" weather over this holiday weekend in America. In fact, if you happened to be on the East coast you many have even had to flee from an approaching hurricane.  

I have been watching the various news stories of the thousands of "would-be" vacationers who were forced to turn around before entering coastal towns or who had to pack up all their stuff and evacuate their beach rentals to avoid the wrath of an early summer hurricane about to "make landfall" along the Carolina coast -ruining all those 4th of July plans.  

I was particularly struck by an interview with one family preparing to evacuate. The mom, in particular, was furious at her misfortune.  "We had been preparing for this vacation for months," she said. "For weeks, renting this house on the beach was all we ever talked about, and now it's over before it even begins." The mom literally shook her fist at the darkening clouds and pelting rain and cried out,"It's  just not fair!" 

In one sense I could really empathize with that angry mother whose vacation plans had been so totally frustrated. When our children were still boys, every year we would pack up the car and spend a week or two of vacation on an Atlantic Ocean beach, and every day of our vacation I'd be watching to be sure that the weather would't spoil our plans. Several times a day I would consult weather reports, I would go out onto the beach, look up at the skies to observe weather patterns to detect any storm clouds gathering at  the horizon. And if it rained or if it got stormy, Id be angry and frustrated. "We only get to the beach for a few weeks out of the year" I would think, "It just isn't fair."

As I think about the angry mom shaking her fist at the weather at the approaching hurricane, and as I remember my own attempts to control the weather in the days gone by, it all strikes me as an example of how useless it is to shake a fist at the storm because it seems so unfair - a total waste of energy. It changes nothing and it only adds to one's suffering. 

That mom and her family may indeed have done nothing but talk about a vacation on the beach. It probably was disappointing that it didn't work out.  I get it, "been there, done that."  But the fact is that when the hurricane hits - it hits, and when the stormy weather arrives - it arrives, no matter how much you may have planned or how unfair it all seems to be, "it is what it is." 

There is a great life lesson here about learning how to live in the "now" and to embrace rather than resist what "is."  

In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle wisely observes:

Whatever the present moment contains,
accept it as if you had chosen it.
Always work with it, not against it.
Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy.
This will miraculously transform your whole life

In these summer months in the desert, skies are usually clear blue, brilliant sunshine every day, not a trace of a cloud anywhere; but some unusual summer storms have rolled in over the past few days. Yesterday as the skies turned dark and the thunder rumbled in the distance I looked up and instead of shaking a fist at the storm that was going to ruin all my plans, I thought to myself, "what a gift." 

The palm trees took on a mystical green hue against the dark stormy skies, the sounds of thunder sounded so majestic echoing off the mountains, the rushing rain on the baking desert floor was a refreshing delight.  

I accepted it as if I had chosen it and made the moment my friend and my ally. 

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