Do you gnash your teeth and snarl at those windy days when gusts and gales whistle and howl around your house and down the chimney, when they blow so fiercely that if you venture outside, you are immediately thrown off balance?
Do you find yourself wanting to huddle inside and turn your home into a fortress?
Most people will want to hide. But plants, rooted as they are into the earth, are unable avoid the blasts. Have you ever watched how plants manage in storms?
Trees in the wind
While out at the bach in this wild spring I’ve seen how the totara tree tosses its head like a horse in the wind. The cabbage tree fingers the keyboard of the air with its slender leaves, while its flowering head quivers as if thrilled to be touched. The kanuka dances and shakes with dignity; its manuka cousin forms a shivering sea.
And what about humans?
Plants have evolved to deal with wind. So have animals. But humans don’t have ears that fold back, feathers to pull in, or thick hair that clings. We have clothing to protect us.
Even so, I find my body becomes a shield when I walk into a gale. I wonder what it would be like to move like the kanuka, swaying, or to shiver like the manuka, or even to toss my head defiantly like the totara.
Learning from nature
On an inner level, life will deliver turbulence. How can we move with it, rather than hiding? The problem with hiding is that I reinforce a sense of weakness, a belief that I cannot cope with anything but the mildest of weathers. And so I’ve been practising these three strategies to deal with fierce wind.
First, try imagining a world without wind, and all that it represents.
Autumn tends to be mellow, with the air still: a season that many of us will want to linger and not go away. But after a summer in California, where the weather was hot, dry and windless every day, I found myself longing for wildness, yes – wind. I longed for movement.
Second, instead of shrinking away, turn and face the chaos. Watch it closely.
Practise walking into the wind, even when it’s full of grit, sand or dust. Or you may choose to watch the storm from a sheltered place.
At my bach, I’m lucky to be on a hillside, with plenty of windows facing out over the bush. It’s comforting to be warm inside while witnessing the fierce elements outside.
So it is when turbulence visits your life. Your first instinct may be to run from it, to distract yourself, to wish it away. But if you have a place of shelter on the inside from which to watch and witness that inner turbulence, you may discover its purpose and be guided to meet it.
How do you find a place of shelter on the inside? Through meditation, contemplation, sitting still, breathing steadily and deeply, or any other mindfulness practices.
When you can hold inner stillness, you will be able to witness/watch the wind in all its aspects.
Third, ask what is the purpose of turbulence, either outer or inner?
I will leave this one for you to ponder. What do you think? After my last letter I received many thoughtful comments. I’d love to hear your contribution to this conversation on my blog page.
Blessings of the season,
PS Would you like to immerse yourself more fully in the elemental power of nature? In my Sacred Earth course there will be a whole session on the element of AIR. Each element is a key to sacred earth connection. You may discover aspects of air that you never experienced before, and be called into an expansive relationship with what I call ‘the invisible element’. Do check it out.
This post is an excerpt from my Seasons Newsletter. To receive the Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home or blog page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.