Last week winter wreaked havoc in the Midwest. Schools were closed, flights cancelled and plans interrupted. The February fury lasted for three days and the sounds of shovels and snow blowers were ubiquitous. And then, suddenly it was over. The sun came out. Nature’s anger was spent and the collective mood had changed.
When winter arrives we are often inundated with strategies to cope with weather and many of these are indeed very helpful-regular exercise, healthy eating, adopting a winter sport, exposure to bright light. Another strategy is to simply pay attention. By paying attention, there is a lot we can learn.
One lesson is impermanence. We all know that weather changes, the most ferocious storm will eventually end, but so will the most glorious spring day. So attachment and aversion will get us in trouble when we’re busy swiping at our weather apps hoping for a different outcome.
Another lesson is that the positive and negative aspects of life co-exist; we must acknowledge both, in order to be skillful about choosing where to place our attention. We can find beauty in the wonder of white snow even as it slows our travels, or in my case the snowdrift that temporarily buried my dog. Only his tail was visible, allowing me to laugh out loud during an otherwise arduous walk.
In truth, we humans are not so different from the weather, with our changing moods, self -inflicted obstacles and our complex nature that allow us to love and also to hate.
Yes, so much to learn from paying attention to the weather.