I am a Force of Nature. So are you. So is everyone else on the planet. We are affected by the moon, the tides, the barometric pressure. When the winter comes and the sun isn’t as visible, people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (aptly named SAD) and may feel cloudy as well.
How about when the emotional environment is unpredictable? The solar power could be on overdrive one day and storms might be raging the next. I witnessed that physical manifestation when in Jamaica last week. A cloud bank appeared over the erstwhile calm ocean and then spread like peanut butter over whole grain bread. Small droplets of rain scattered and were joined by splish-splash others that created puddles inviting stomping in. Then things got wild. Thunder and lightning flashes rocked the resort. I watched from the shelter of one of the restaurants as several risking taking people remained in the pool; some even holding on to the metal hand railing. This former lifeguard wished she had her whistle so she could insists that they clear the pool. As it was, all I could do was pray that they didn’t get struck by lightning. A drunken couple moved from the pool into the ocean, diving in, in defiance of the storm.
As it always does, the deluge passed, the clouds parted and the sun came beaming back out. I would guess that there was even a rainbow somewhere nearby. So it is with our emotional weather. Although I do my best to keep my own temperate zone in range, there are times when storms are bubbling up beneath the surface, but the waves are pretty calm. I have learned to ride them without capsizing my boat, or those of others.
What happens when someone else’s storms come to call? How do we maintain our own balance? When someone in our life feels as if they are on a ship gone astray, how do we remind them that they could benefit by changing course, so that they don’t continue to steer toward the rocks while we watch, feeling helpless to do anything but wave our arms?
There are times when this consummate caregiver (alright … control freak), wants to commandeer the ship and move it out of danger, since I can see where it is heading. The person keeps wresting the wheel from my well intended hands. It gets exhausting and sea sick inducing. As a result, I am learning to relinquish control.
Yesterday I was doing what I call a ‘sanity check’ with my wise friend Paul Dengler who is a Forrest Gump impersonator. He called because he sensed I had something on my mind that needed some support and perhaps course correction myself. After I shared my winds of change experience, he offered this:
“The emotional weather changes from day to day. Sometimes you shouldn’t try to go anywhere or do anything in the storm. Just wait it out. Sunny skies are up ahead.”
This is true for me, as it is for this other person in my life. I need to trust that they will see their way clear out of the clouds into the bright light.
What I have also learned is that I can only steer my own ship of dreams and no one else’s and that I am not doing it alone. The ‘captain’ that put my hands on the wheel is observing to see where I take it.