I promise I am not intentionally trying to uphold every single cliché of a spiritual journey. Although you’d be forgiven for thinking my aim is to create a rather unconvincing hybrid plotline of Bridget Jones Diary and Eat, Pray, Love, it truly is not. Having said that, I am in India right now training to be a yoga teacher.
As only 87% of the world are currently yoga teachers I just felt it was something I should do for the sake of humanity. I hope one day I can help middle class white folk attain enlightenment every Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at Fitness First. I am pretty sure that’s where Gandhi studied (or maybe he just took bodypump there?! I get confused).
It’s monsoon season here in Kerala in the south of India. Temperatures reach a sticky 35 degrees Celsius and my classmates and I often sit lethargically around hoping the rain will come. Personally I have always quite liked the rain. The feeling of comfort it brings when you sit from the warmth of your home, with a cup of tea, looking out as it lashes against the window. The innocent excitement it can offer when you are unexpectedly caught in a heavy shower, flowing like never ending buckets carelessly ejected out of the sky. But rain when you are in a tropical climate it brings something else as well.
It brings relief. It brings renewal and it refreshes the day. It is one long exhale after holding your breath. When you live in colder climates it’s easier to be ungrateful towards the rain. It is miserable. Why doesn’t the sun shine all the time. Sunshine is much easier to get along with. Sunshine is carefree. But here when the heavens open it reminds me of the true blessing of a little rain in our life.
In the last 2 years my appreciation has really deepened for the sometimes undervalued rain. It is rarely welcomed but so vital for life to truly bloom. This new found spring for me where so much continues to blossom around me was only possible because of the downpour that came before. It was quite a storm and put on quite a show. I got pretty drenched and on more than one occasion wondered when it was going to relent.
I understand now that life was only preparing the soil for me. For years I’d diligently planted crops which would yield a respectable harvest. Steady, hardy and dependable, they were safe bets. Nourishing enough but nothing terribly exotic. But mother nature had other ideas for what could grow. You see it is really clever like that life, it knows what we need even when we don’t.
It knows our frivolous hearts would probably chose eternal summer, but it thankfully offers its wisdom and realises how short sighted that is. It is an intuitive fortune teller and predicts that when the sun begins to reappear one little ray of light at a time, poking from behind the still grey tinged clouds, that it usually leaves behind some pretty fertile ground.
Nature refuses to do all the work for us though. We must meet her half way. If we are too blinded by what was destroyed in the deluge, and in the process neglect the sowing, then all that fertile land will go to waste. All you will be left with is the memory of some pretty shitty weather. It is the sheer beauty of freewill. The falling of the rain may be predetermined but it is completely up to us what we plant afterwards.
That is the fun part, the game life is constantly engaging us in. Even when we sulk, proclaim it is not fair and in the frustration of the moment decide to take our ball home, life just smiles a little knowing grin and continues playing. Whether we like it or not we will be forced to make a choice when the rain comes into our life.
When the rain starts up again in your life, whether it be a short shower or a heavy downpour, will it be a joyous cleansing? Will you embrace it as an opportunity to wipe old slates clean? Will you turn your face towards it and really dare to feel every drop as it soaks you to the skin or will you scatter and hide away from the inconvenience until it stops and the sun comes out again? Either way rain will always show up. There is no way to avoid it.
We all know that deep down we wouldn’t have it any other way. Maybe next time it arrives the best course of action is to be bold enough to run out and dance. For us to throw our hands up and humbly say THANK YOU for every drenching drop. THANK YOU as it washes away everything we cling to that is no longer serving us. THANK YOU for the chance to grow something new, maybe even something we could never have imagined.
Only time will reveal the gift it is offering if we chose to accept it. Let’s be honest you are going to get wet regardless of what you do, and it surely has to beat pointlessly darting around for shelter.