I was at work a few weeks ago chatting with a gentleman with a really positive and energetic take on life. It was a breath of fresh air so to speak and got me thinking about the difficulties in life and how we survive them. Often on this blog, I enjoy the lessons we can draw from the parallels of nature and human experience, and at no time is this more relevant than now, with the extreme flooding taking place around our country. Of course we do not wish for this misfortune, but neither can we change it or prevent it completely. We cannot always control the world around us, but rather we can regulate our reaction to it, whether that be people we encounter, or the whims of the atmosphere.
If you have ever watched the plants during a terrible downpour, it can be unsettling. Limbs droop, stems and branches sway almost wretchedly, and yes even some damage can occur. However these very flora would not last without the life-sustaining water trickling down to awaiting roots. They are soaking and slowly giving strength and stamina to the green gentles of this world. Although the plants appear bent and beaten, the reality is that they needed the process to strengthen, and quickly adapt to the vagaries of their surroundings. Within hours the plants once more stand strong, roots lengthening, leaves rising back upward toward the sun, replenished by the experience.
What can we humans do in the wake of a storm in our lives? It may take more than a few hours to recover depending on the size of the storm, the length of time is not to be measured as a competition of any sort. Instead, each individual must unfurl at their own pace, testing their roots, growing at their own rate. For some, a similar storm is more disruptive for one, vs. another, given their experience. For those less tested, the recovery may be longer, but no less important or relevant. In fact, the very diversity of the plant and human condition gives collective strength to life.
I recall a quote that is an excellent summary of how we can make our reaction positive, present, and relevant. "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance in the rain." Maybe this is one intention we could hold, that even in the times of darkness, we find celebration and acceptance.
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