Rainy Restlessness

“Rain, rain, go away;

come again another day.”*

Is it raining where you are?  Here in central Ohio, it’s been “raining cats and dogs” almost steadily for a couple of days.  Flooding makes for dicey driving on some roads.  BTW, ever wonder about “raining cats and dogs”?  The Library of Congress website suggests an English gentleman, George Cruikshank, coined the phrase in 1820, naming this banner picture, “very unpleasant weather.”  Yes, indeed!

Rainy day stretches often give way to very unpleasant emotions as well.  “Rainy days and Mondays, always get me down.”**  Thanks, Karen Carpenter, for admitting the same.  And not just Mondays!  Whether we call it “the blues,” having “the blahs,” or being in “a funk,” melancholy feelings pull us down, down, down.  Plus, coronavirus problems and rainy days don’t mix well either.  Yuck!

Life goes topsy turvy in a hurry.  What to do?  Just settle down in a pool of discouragement?  Jump with all you’ve got into puddles of anger?  Let the wind tousle your messed up life even more?  These are clearly understandable paths for coping with distress and restlessness.  Just get it out!  Expressing feelings appropriately certainly helps provide some relief.

And then what?

This sounds counter intuitive but, let it rain! ACCEPT the sprinkles, drizzle, fog, and torrents.  Easier said than done, for sure.  As a kid, I used to get upset when inclement weather ruined family plans for a holiday outing to Rock Lake or supper at the beach.  That’s nothing compared to the storms of fear and dis-ease I’ve weathered in adulthood.  Practicing the discipline of acceptance daily provides an emotional anchor of sorts.  Sometimes, just admitting that, “Okay, I could have done that differently but I did the best I could in the moment,” brings enough relief.  At other times, when fear grips my gut, sitting comfortably and focusing on every in and out breath (counting them too) provides a distraction from worrisome thoughts.  This can take a while and may need to be repeated, but that’s fine.  A mind bombarded with anxious thoughts can learn to find space and quiet.

SURRENDER is another word expressing the same idea.  Ugh!  I never did like that word but have to admit that I’m beginning to realize the benefits of incorporating it’s meaning into upsetting moments.  First, let’s agree that surrender is NOT about eating humble pie, throwing in the towel, or playing dead.  Relinquishing control conveys a more accurate clue to the implications of surrender.  It’s about letting be what is.  

Most of us label thoughts and situations either good or bad.  We utter JUDGMENT about what has happened, is happening, or will happen (in our imagination).  For example, amidst my childhood frustration about altered picnic plans, I judged rain as bad since it apparently ruined the day.  Instead, I could say, “It’s raining,” period!  No judgment.  Letting go of tendencies to evaluate weather, for instance, opens up the possibility for contentment with what is.

This very simple illustration begs the question, “How might surrender and lack of judgment calm other storms in life?”  What happens when a serious illness or job loss gets dumped in a lap?  Bad news!  Anxiety and apprehension rush in, of course.  That’s normal.  If, however, in the middle of panic, one chooses to process troublesome experiences from a more accepting and nonjudgmental perspective, the mind and heart gradually become calmer.  Calmness, then, provides space for clearer thinking and decision-making.  What could be learned from this situation?  How could this prove helpful?

Eckhart Tolle wisely reminds us that “Stress is caused by being ‘here’, but wanting to be ‘there.'”  How true is that?!  Life is full of these moments, isn’t it?  I’m a mess because I’m stuck at home during this pandemic when I really want to be back at work, shopping, and going to the gym.  Life is horrible right now.  You bet, things get tough.  But consider how acceptance, surrender, and nonjudgmental thoughts could bring positive change into our emotional lives.

Send me a text, email, or call.  Together we could sort out and apply these ideas to your situation.


* Traditional English nursery rhyme

**Songwriters: William and Nichols