August 2012

Living a Weatherproof Life


A few weeks ago my husband and I were vacationing at Tofino on Vancouver Island. Though I realized that area is a rain forest, I was dismayed the first morning when I read the day’s weather prediction as 50mm of rain. Wow, that’s alot of rain, especially for a vacationer like me who really just wanted to go to the beach.

I asked at the lodge reception desk, “What do people do here when it rains?” The answer, so perfect, so profound: “They put on a raincoat.”

So that’s what we did, and we had a great time at the beach and other sites of interest. Late-afternoon we changed into dry clothes and enjoyed cocoa by the fireplace. It was truly a perfect day.

Of course, I recognize that a rainy day at the beach is not a huge set-back, nowhere near the far greater challenges that life sometimes presents. Nevertheless, as I reflect back on that day, I find that it offers lessons about coping with harsher, more trying times. How can I live a weatherproof life? How can I keep the storms of life from penetrating my inner being?

Firstly, it is important to see hardship as a temporary, outward condition and to have faith in the future. If I persevere with faith, surely things will work out, even if not always in the time or manner I might have predicted. The word for this is “serendipity,” wherein there are unexpected and even better-than-sought results.

I can be grateful when difficulties occur, keeping in mind the words from the Baha’i writings “Be generous in prosperity, grateful in adversity.” These words remind me to share my good fortune when I have it and to recognize troubles as character-building. To enlarge on this, while in the middle of a problem I need to believe in the solution that will come in the end, the goodness that will flow from the adversity. Much like the tides, there is an ebb and flow — a rhythm — in life.

Perhaps most importantly, I can keep a sense of humour, which is another way of saying that I can be detached. If I can accept the inevitable and move beyond my prior expectations, then I will become more flexible and resourceful. Indeed this can be an exhilarating experience – riding the highs and the lows with confidence.

So to bring this back to where I started, whether figuring out what to with a stormy day while on vacation or solving a larger problem, I have many opportunities to express higher qualities and exercise my sense of humour. When things don’t work out, I can tell myself “It’ll make a good story later.” When I find myself going an unexpected direction, I can be curious about what will happen instead.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that faith, contentment, happiness, and humour keep me balanced and enriched. And they keep me dry during rain, bringing the sunshine that follows the storm.


© Jaellayna Palmer 2012