- the state of the atmosphere with respect to wind, temperature, cloudiness, pressure, etc.
- to bear up against and come safely through a storm, danger or trouble.
I feel odd. And I’m not entirely sure why. I’m lonely and yet I’m not alone. I wrote in an earlier blawg post, (“Heed the Signs”), about my internal quest for “home”. About the phenomenon I’ve experienced since my folks died, wherein I have seemingly been searching for that elusive place or feeling where my soul feels at rest. A homestead. I now recognize, and feel saddened by the realization, that so many of us must be walking around this world in a state of low grade, but constant, homesickness.
It’s been a year since I finished cycling in my father’s footsteps. So much and so little has happened in those 365 days. I am immensely grateful and intensely happy in my little life. Gratitude is different than thankfulness. It’s deeper, fuller, more profound. I tried to explain the concept of gratitude to my young nieces at one point after I had told them that I was grateful for their presence in my life. I asked them if they understood what I had meant and one of them responded, “Yes Muggy, I think you mean you’re thankful, but not just with your words, but with your whole entire self”. Yep! That’s exactly what I meant kid!
And I am grateful, with my whole entire self, for my whole entire little life.
Sometimes feelings happen whether you want them to or not. I visualize life like the jet stream. Yes, I mean the atmospheric, weather related jet stream.
“Jet streams are fast flowing, narrow air currents found in the atmosphere. Their paths have meandering shapes, they start, stop and split into two or more parts, combine into 1 stream or flow in various directions, including the opposite direction of most of the jet.” Thank you Wikipedia.
The earth is at the mercy of the jet stream. Man can attempt to, and is often successful in, controlling so much of this world. At least temporarily. But the weather, the weather has a mind of its own. The smartest thing man can do is not fight it, nor try to control it, but to simply prepare for it.
Emotions are the jet stream of life. They’re fast flowing, they meander, they start and stop and change direction. They’re unpredictable and uncontrollable. Spend a day with a 3 year old and you’ll witness the jet stream up close, personal and in full effect! But I don’t think we grown-ups are all that different from a 3 year old, we’ve just learned to wear better masks and to move our temper tantrums from aisle 5 at Walmart to the privacy of our own homes!
When the actual seasons of the year start to change, we prepare for them. We wear layers, we bring umbrellas, and we fish out our warm woollies from the back of our messy and overflowing sock drawer. When meteorologists warn us that extreme weather is on its way, we listen to them. We batten down the hatches, we load up on matches and batteries and in some cases, we evacuate.
I’m back in the UK, first for a friend’s wedding in Scotland, then for some holiday time in England and Ireland. This past week I was walking along the Thames River in London where the houses are built within a stone’s throw of the water’s edge. The river is known to seasonally rise well above the embankment and flooding is a common occurrence. So each door and window along the river has flood gates and barriers that can be reinforced should the climate so dictate. The home owners know the weather changes and regardless of their opinion on the matter, there is no point in denying that reality. And so they prepare for it. It is both foolish and fruitless to stand in the blustering gales of a hurricane and deny its existence. It’s much wiser to accept and prepare for the often cantankerous and unpredictable hormonal changes of Mother Nature.
Life is the same way. It is incredibly beautiful, but it is also unpredictable and often cantankerous. The jet stream of emotional energy flows, whether we like it or not. Whether we invited in the feelings or they just showed up all on their own. The feelings are there, and there’s no point in denying them. There are calms and there are storms – and not always in that order. We must surrender to the whims of the jet stream. When we feel the winds changing, even and especially when we can’t figure out exactly why our internal weather vane is shifting direction, it is best to accept it, and rather than deny it, prepare for it.
Preparing is done during our times of ease, of happiness, of smooth sailing. Be aware during those days. Clock them. Be present in them. Harvest them and store them away. For when the tides change and the water rises in your eyes, you will be prepared to survive it. And you will. Trust me, you are prepared and you will survive.
Now, I need to trust my own advice. I feel panicky, unsettled, and claustrophobic. There’s no obvious explanation for this internal shift in barometric pressure. And try as I might, I can’t seem to simply muscle my way through it. I’ve tried denying it and when I do, the winds just make my life more complicated. The “how” and the “why” are less relevant than the “is”. The hurricane “is” upon me, so now what? I mustn’t fear it, but instead surrender to it and trust that I have enough gladsomeness in my stores to see me through the other side. I can’t be afraid to feel the power of it. I won’t be overwhelmed. Flood waters eventually and always recede.
I’ve gone on some beautiful hikes over the past few weeks in the Lake District of England. Lining every path I trod are the spikey and ominous leaves of the nettle plant. Nettles grow on broken soil, which usually means; anywhere that humans have been. If you brush a nettle, it stings. Terribly. I’ve been unlucky enough to have backed my rump into a nettle patch in the past. It was about as much fun as it sounds! According to my Uncle Ken, (who is the smartest cat I know), if you grasp the nettle, rather than simply brush up against it, she stings you not. I’m too chicken to try it, memories of “Nettle-Arse-Gate 2013” are still too fresh in my mind. But apparently it’s true. If you grasp the nettle plant in the direction of its poisonous hairs, it can’t penetrate your skin.
Eventually I’m sure that the reasons behind this uncomfortable internal tsunami will bubble to the surface. The eye of the storm will make itself clear in its own time. And hopefully when it does, I will be brave enough to grasp that nettle when I come to it! But in the meantime, I must be patient, breathe, stay open and let the storm pass through. Who knows, the light show may be spectacular!
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