It was the middle of the night and I was wide awake listening to the rain pelt our tent.
The skies had looked suspicious all day and just when we thought it would storm the sun would pop out and reveal with it touches of blue sky. Fortunately, the weather held long enough for us to enjoy a full day of outdoor fun and plenty of time to prepare and dine on a delicious, camping, dinner feast. Shortly after, the skies could no longer contain themselves and we heard the distant rumble of thunder.
Because of the constant threat of rain and little faith in the durability of the tent rain flys, my husband and brother collectively engineered a tarp system to hang overtop of our tents as an extra preventative. I remember my brother commenting that evening about going above and beyond for nothing. Well, at least twenty times that night, between and during deluge after deluge, I thanked everything holy for their overachievement.
Unlike the soothing sound of rain on a tin roof, rain on a tarp is loud and perhaps even a little unsettling. Or maybe it was the sound coupled with the fact that having a river flow through the middle of your tent was a real possibility and that made the sound unsettling. Either way, the combination of these ingredients was enough to have me wide awake for most of the night.
Lying there in stillness and fighting the urge to roll back onto my side so that my numb shoulder could have a break, I started to think about how lucky I am. My deluxe camping pad was proof that I'm getting older and was much less deluxe than I had hoped. My numb shoulders and aching back are more proof. But still, I felt lucky.
I can't tell you how many times in my life things haven't gone my way, more than I'd like to recall and I'm sure you can relate. But worse than not getting my/our way is how I/we respond to these curveballs. It's kind of like rolling with the punches. We can pout and fuss and cuss and stew and make shit worse OR we can find the light, pull ourselves together, regroup and find a path through the unplanned for mess. It's all about our mindset, which I believe to be like any other practice. We can control our minds through practices like yoga, running, meditation, or some other technique and those exercises can act like training for those real life curveballs I mentioned before.
Back in the tent, in the midst of the storm, I almost chuckled at this perfect real life example of what I practice for. I had a few options, I could lose my damn mind and throw a tantrum about my circumstance OR I could take a deep breath, thank the universe my situation wasn't worse and enjoy where I was despite the conditions.
Believe me, I know I'm painting a pretty picture but I know it's not always this easy. Life is full of unplanned, challenging, soul shaking experiences but I bet that if you flex your mindset and hone the skill of controlling your mind on the easier ones it will begin to come more easily with the challenging ones too.
Turns out that there are worse camping experiences than sleeping through a summer thunderstorm and we realized several of them the next day. And I'm not even talking about the snake I let into the bath house but that's a story for another day. Instead of waking up to clear skies and sunshine the weather was still subpar for being outside. We were committed to making the most of our time. We waterskied in the rain which was thrilling but cold. We dragged out our fun as long as we could but then the rain really settled in and we had to pack up. IN THE RAIN. Talk about a challenge. I'm certain nothing, not one thing, remained dry. Our tents, bedding, clothing, dog beds, dogs, you name it, everything that had been so safely dry under our tarp contraption was soaking wet by the end of it. And it all got put into our cars wet which meant the fun was sure to continue once we arrived back home. Outwardly I smiled, laughed even and powered through knowing that even this wouldn't last forever but inside I can assure youI had cursed just about everything by the end.
We always have a choice. I'm here with a reminder that you are strong enough to weather whatever storm you are journeying through. Tell yourself you are strong enough, that this won't last forever, take a deep breath and keep moving. Even in the darkest night, do yourself a favor and bring your awareness to something good, something light, something that makes you smile. Flex the muscle of your mindset now and it will keep you strong when you need it most. I'm here if you ever need to share or maybe you just need a reminder to keep going.
When it rains it pours and maybe that's not a bad thing.