Tuesday, June 24, 2008

EcoBliss: Keeping a Weather Journal, More Important than You Think

Walking further than I normally would want to,
we happened upon this lovely fern forest.

Listening to: This song, I think, exemplifies how many people feel about "bad" weather.

Today's Bliss Formula: I am luxuriating in the time with my frog today. And in the fact that we have no more trips scheduled at all for the rest of the summer. The only "trip" I want to take is a regular jaunt down to our peninsula's beaches. And a walk to our backyard to sit on our plaid blanket and wait for birds.

As I mentioned yesterday, the best part of our trip this past weekend was the walking. Lots of walks. And the best walk was into the woods. There are patches of old growth forest here and you can feel there is age and wisdom amongst these trees.

During one of our walks, it was starting to rain. This normally would send me running for cover, shrieking even while I do so. Yes, I am a princess. And though my hair is not cotton candy puffy in any way whatsoever and I don't wear makeup or high heels or silk, I think I may melt. I'm not convinced that I won't, anyway.

But this time, Frog pointed out to me that the woods were like an umbrella and I took enough of a breath to realize that she was speaking the truth. So instead of running and most likely slipping and falling, I relaxed and enjoyed myself.

I've had this thing with the weather. I think it's because my father, who if the weather weren't to his liking in some specific way, spent a good deal of time swearing at it. I picked up the habit, sadly.

But being car free has gone a long way to changing my tune.

Also, being depression free has helped. And I think that is a key to this puzzle for many people.

We tend to use the weather as a mirror for our own emotions. So if we feel at all bad and wake up to a gray sky, we blame the weather for our mood. When really, the feeling about the weather is coming from the mood.

How I judge the weather -- as either "good" or "bad" or "pretty" -- has everything to do with my own internal landscape at that moment.

The weather is not out to get you.

The weather, really, has nothing to do with you.

Be grateful for the rain; most parts of this country are suffering from drought.

Be grateful for the four feet of snow; precipitation is precipitation and four feet of snow sometimes closes things down. We used to love that when we were little.

Let me also discourage people from seeing the weather as somehow our "fault." Yes, there is something going on in terms of climate change. There is no denying that. (Well, there is, but if your last name isn't Bush, you probably put some stock in real science.)

But...regardless of climate change, you can't change the fact of the rain. You can't blame climate change for earthquakes. Big hurricanes have always happened. Tsunamis have always happened. Stuff has always happened.

If you're that worried about the weather, stop driving.

Now, I have proof about this weather thing not really being a big deal: I keep a weather journal. So when people say things to me like "GOD! This spring is so COLD!" I can say, "Well, actually, last year about two days different from today, it was the same temperature." (What a pain in the arse I am!)

Or the classic in my neck of the woods is surprise at "late" snow. But I can document that we almost always get a bit of wet snow once the forsythia are completely yellow.

My weather journal has taught me about cycles and consistency. It has taught me, for example, no matter what we like to tell ourselves, that each season really is just about the same length of time.

It has taught me about the Buddhist concept of no attachment and no aversion. The weather simply is. Like much of life simply is.

It has taught me to pay attention to the rhythms of the season and thus to my own rhythms. For example, during the hottest parts of summer, I am not likely to do daily yoga and I am more likely to nap. This is just part of my own personal cycle.

So, try this. I am a regular journal writer -- and you should be too if you are in any way a seeker -- so at the top of each journal entry, I write "Planet," and under that I write a brief description of the weather, and if it is the growing season, I track what's happening in our yard or with the trees.

This is an awesome and powerful way to feel more connected to your life and your community. When you notice each tree, each flower, each bird, you feel responsible for their well being as well as your own.

If anything, when you look back and compare the "Planet" section to the rest of your journal, you might start to notice how much you blame the external weather for your internal weather, and maybe, eventually, you'll stop.

That's when you'll know that true change is in the air.


Cori said...

Hello everyone,
For a fantastic book appreciating the energy of the weather and the seasons, check out "Why Buffalo Dance: Animal and Wilderness Meditations Through the Seasons" by Susan Chernak McElroy. It is in my top three favorite books ever - one of those that I go back and read over and over.

Thanks for the great blog site BlissChick! I'm new here, and really enjoying your posts.

blisschick said...

Welcome, Cori, and thanks for the great book suggestion. I'll be interested to check it out. Another great book is Dakota by Kathleen Norris, which is not strictly about weather but also about place and how we find our place -- or how it finds us. The weather issue is so intriguing to me. I know so many people who up and move away from everything and everyone they supposedly care for in search of some "ideal" weather. Are we the first people on this planet to ever move for so trivial a reason? And like the book Dakota tries to point out, isn't the weather we "hate" really a spiritual exercise of sorts?