As I write, I am traveling onboard a Delta CRJ 700 at an approximate 35,000 foot altitude from Montreal to Atlanta. My window on the world reveals a canvas of blue, with shades from baby to indigo. The canvas is underlined by puffs and streaks of white like a tabletop sparsely covered by cotton tufts – some stretched into thin elongated stripes, and others textured and clustered as if just removed from their pods. Just below lie a smattering of grey, thunderous forms ready to burst open and send their contents plummeting down. A spring storm is happening below at lower altitude. I’m curious how many will be caught out in the rain.
I have been caught in a fair share of life’s storms – betrayals, abuses, illnesses, unwanted transitions and premature deaths – to name a few. In retrospect, I have asked myself what happens when I have been caught in a storm? Where was my head? The truth is when I allowed it to be in the storm, I experienced all that rained down in the harshest of ways. Perhaps I used the tools I had to protect myself – avoidance, denial, anger and acceptance much like an umbrella, coat, boots and shelter. But, I was in the storm – victimized, scared and ultimately drenched by it.
What I’ve learned is that to get through the storm – not just to survive it – is to get my head above the clouds. When I venture above with my thoughts and attitudes, I can see clearly that the storm is temporary, that it will pass and that there is peace and beauty on the other side. But when I am in the storm, I see, hear and feel only the devastation of the storm. The dark, the grey, the downpour, the thunder and lightning. At times, I left on all the protective gear – goulashes, slicker, umbrella, etc., not noticing a clearing, expecting the next event, and therefore wearing it into all my relationships – ready for whatever storm would show up.
What storms have you be experienced in your life? Last month? Last year? Are you in one now? Where is/was your head? Do/did you experience it with an attitude of expectancy of more bad weather or with sight of blue skies? Expectancy for what lies above and beyond? Perhaps you are still caught in it? Avoiding it? Denying it? Angry about it? Accepting it, but stuck? What do you need to be able go through it? Will you remove your coat and boots, put away your umbrella and step out from your shelter so that you can truly face it, feel it and move on through it to clear, blue skies? Or, will you live in your protective garments and arenas, frightened, lost, hiding?
I can tell you that I wore my gear for years and in some cases, even decades. I can also tell you the freedom in removing them. I now know there is another option. I know to look for the blue. I know to expect the blue. I know that by choosing the view from above, I move through each storm faster and into the warm nurturing of the sunlight.
If I can help you move through your storms, reach out. The skies are clearing already.