I never thought it useful to complain about the weather. And, according to mindfulness, I am right and it doesn’t. For the last two years I have been practicing mindfulness and it has been very helpful. Don’t get me wrong: mindfulness will not help me recover my health. But it made me re-embrace life.
It taught me, for instance, to realize that a thought is just that. Even though it took me a while to fully understand it…, thoughts are like clouds in the sky. Passing.
Speaking of the weather: have you ever picked up the line ‘when it storms, learn to dance in the rain?’ Perhaps I don’t want to dance in the rain? What if I feel dreadful, because it seems to be pouring every day. Just thinking about rain makes me feel cold.
But, shivering under my knitted throw, I am willing to admit I do understand the meaning of it. The wisdom behind this phrase is about making the best of things, regardless our circumstances.
The beauty of rain, for me, is the sound of it. I have a favorite mindfulness exercise and almost daily I can be found listening to things that happen outdoors. For ten or twenty minutes, I lie on the sofa in my sleeping bag – covered with that throw on these cold days – with a window opened, and I listen. The birds may be singing, I hear the carillon bells from the city center, or there is the trickling sound of a water pond at my neighbor’s garden. Sometimes there are other sounds, like music blasting, while someone is working on yet another DIY project nearby; a neighbor working on his motorcycle, keeping it’s motor running; or a toddler is having a tantrum three houses down the road.
There is no point in complaining about these noises, just like it is useless complaining about the weather, having no control over either of them. However, you can change the way you think about the weather. This is another basic principle of mindfulness. Likewise, you can change the way you think about life – even if being chronically ill means you are bombarded with difficulties, every single day.
If your mind is troubling you and your thoughts almost drag you down, mindfulness can be helpful to you. It is fairly simple, all you have to do is think of your thoughts as clouds in the sky and wait for these to pass.
Apart from listening to sounds outdoors, there are other ways to practice mindfulness. Try not to complain for a day, not to complain about the weather or other things that annoy you. Not complaining sometimes helps me to feel less grumpy. Or spend some time watching the clouds and observe the changes – in size, in color… Staring out of the window is really not that bad, you might even catch a ray of sunshine. But if that is not the case, then we can complain about that tomorrow.
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This post is also available in: Dutch