No matter what I have previously planned for a class, once people enter the yoga studio, there is an energy that takes over and leads us all on a magnificent journey of discovery, introspection and, more often than not, a little laughter.
A few weeks ago, as we began our standing and balance postures, the skies turned that eerie dark color that usually means severe weather is upon us. It was interesting that no matter what I tried to do or how I tried to focus, I could not balance in any of our postures. One by one the room began to empty of students. Those who remained watched as the dark clouds began their very ominous swirling as they slowly gathered into a large funnel in the distance-
Finally the room emptied of students as we all realized that the weather had won over our need for a yoga practice that night. As I ran to my car, I was pummeled by golf ball sized hail and puddles that were as deep as my ankles.
I have lived in many states and experienced all sorts of weather conditions, but the rain storms of both Texas and Minnesota- perhaps the entire mid-west- are unique in many ways. Rather than being a rain ‘fall’ it is more like a rain ‘dump’- rain literally falls from the sky in buckets! And the dark sky that accompanies the SEVERE weather systems can swallow the light of mid-day in a heart beat!
As I drove to yoga last night, I thought about that class a few weeks ago that ended early because of the extreme weather. I remembered how out of balance I felt that night and how difficult it was to maintain any sort of focus in the class or in myself. I wondered if tonight would end the same way- no focus, no balance and a room being emptied of people who knew in a situation like this the only place anyone really wants to be is home.
Luckily, the clouds tonight slowly gave way to peaceful skies. The energy in class was vibrant and full; we were focused and balanced as we found our flow and. Rather than the thoughts I had prepared, I shared thoughts of the rain in Minnesota-
|Looking down at the MN I-35 Bridge collapse|
Minnesota is naturally a very green state. Lots and lots and lots of trees- as a matter of fact, when we first got there from Arizona I told my husband that all the trees made me a little claustrophobic!
|The head of the Mississippi River; Lake Itasca State Park, MN|
He always thought that was funny since all the trees make that Minnesota air so clean and fresh!
|McKinnley Elementary School; Ham Lake, MN|
Anyway, as it goes with seasons, this green foliage eventually gave in to winter’s harsh bite. Trees lost their leaves, flowers died, bushes went dormant and grass was covered by (thick, thick) blankets of snow.
|Home, Sweet Snowy, Home; Ham Lake, MN|
|All Bundled Up|
The first peek-a-boo’s of spring green were always eagerly anticipated as winter finally got exhausted and relinquished it’s hold on all living things. Every year, with excitement, we would nurture our plants and foliage back to life. Sprinkler timers were set, fertilizers spread, and outside clean up projects would commence. I loved these days as I prepared for my favorite of all seasons- Spring!
No matter how much work I did to enliven the plants, there was something unique about the moisture of the spring rains; the greens were brighter, the lawns thicker, and the leaves larger in a very tangible way. In awe, I would admire the work Mother Nature could do in a 30 minutes- a work I couldn’t compete with even when I tried.
As I shared these thoughts with my class, I suggested that they take in a little of the spiritual aspect of today’s rain. Allowing the pains, worries or disappointments of life to be washed away and to allow the nourishing qualities of the rain to breathe new life- invigorated life- in their place.
A sweet student, one who had been in class the night of the severe weather, shared a picture she took that night after the storm blew over. It was a beautiful picture of a rainbow, complete end to end; her entire street lit by the pale sunset peeking through a few remaining clouds. No fancy photo editing, no expensive equipment- just an appreciating eye and the camera on her phone. Yet the picture captured God’s bounty and mercy in simple and perfect detail!
|Double Rainbow- McKinney, TX; Spring 2014|
Make no mistake, storms will brew and clouds will swirl overhead, heavy and dark with the burden of too much pressure bursting to be released. Thunder will clap and lightening may strike as the feeling in the air (one you can almost taste, smell and see) gives hints of severe weather ahead!
As reliable as the setting sun, the clouds will empty their load allowing thirsty Earth to get her fill and her plants and produce to be nourished and refreshed. These loud and proud manifestations of stormy weather WILL give way to clear skies, sunshine and nourishment that simply cannot be reproduced in any way. The clouds will depart as the blue sky pushes them away, demanding room for the sun and it’s light to shine through—
—and if we are lucky, and we hit it just right, AND we are watching exactly where we should be waiting, we will see a rainbow, a beautiful and vibrant rainbow, we may even catch a double rainbow-
|Tempe, AZ; 2006|
The reminder that life is settling down, that God is aware of our needs and He has prepared a way for life’s storms to be washed away, leaving in their wake a beauty and bounty that only the storm can bring.
Let us allow ourselves the refreshing power of the rainstorm, offering thunderclaps that get our attention to changes we must make, flash flooding to give rise to our weaknesses and heavy winds to sweep them away; allowing the rains to refresh and cleanse before the air of conflict is pushed aside by blue skies and brighter days.
Daily Journal Challenge:
Reflect on the times when life’s storms seemed to bring a heavy darkness, torrential rains and possibly even left a little damage in their wake- record the blessings and rainbows that came from that storm. Focusing more on the outcome rather than the storm itself.