I can struggle a little some winters, the consequences of both seasonal affected disorder and the culmination of a tiring or unsatisfactory year but I take solace and resolve from the proverb Olc síon an sioc, is fearr sioc ná sneachta agus is fearr sneachta ná síorbháisteach – Frost is bad weather, but frost is better than snow, and snow is better than eternal rain.
Knowing when we have it good even when it appears to be going bad is one of the most difficult perceptions but mindfulness – its awareness and acceptance of reality, its perspective, can come into play to let us see the wood for the trees sometimes. It is not only with hindsight but with seeing the now, living more in it, that we get to appreciate exactly where we are. Today we may need gloves and a scarf but we don’t need galoshes and an ark. It’s not an existential threat, just yet. And actually, it is nice to see my breathe in the chilly air.
This seanfhocal reminds me that it could always be worse – not in a despairing or negatively morbid way but in a reminder of reality and perspective – it spares the need to hindsight and backward contemplation. Now of course, in the now, frost or rain is just the moment of frost or rain, it all must be encountered and lived through. Frost or rain makes no difference to being mindful. You can be mindful no matter the circumstance. You can be your better self, no matter.
Young or old makes no difference, male or female makes no difference, sexuality, financial status, education, no matter – now is now. You are more than definition; you are the experiences of a spiritual being and more still. Frost or snow on the path, rain or sun on your back, it is all life.
Some times in life we can get too caught up in the weather and forget that we are the sky. We can take it all, we are equipped to accommodate it all, we are too vast to be defined by a little drizzle here, a touch of snow there or even a burst of sun every now and then. Let the weather be weather – intermittent and transitory. We are the sky, ever present and irrefutable.
Exercise – What’s the worst?
Depression and anxiety are all ‘what ifs’ and worst-case scenarios – both are built on that. It is all bad weather, all the time. Even before we look out the window. We too often rush to predict and stick with it – even in spite of evidence to the contrary. We program ourselves to expect the worst. We learn to only experience the worst.
We are either playing it out as a reason to not venture forward or we feel fear and freeze or run away. Either way it is halting our progress, so maybe we need to ask what if it’s not the worst thing that can happen. What if the assumed terrible outcome is not so terrible? Maybe the shopping mall is not filled with bully’s, child snatchers, active shooters or zombies. Maybe today the bad won’t happen.
I am not asking you to accept it on faith. Prep for it. Visit the psychological flight simulator and visualise it in your imagination, play it out to the end. Close your eyes, let yourself imagine the worst-case scenario, feel the fear or unease, let it be vivid, bear with it to the end. Let it be that bad ending – you lose that job, you are jilted at the altar, the food runs out, medicines stop working, the other side wins the election, the zombies have found the motorised scooter store and are gaining on you. Feel it, live it, now open your eyes. It was only a fantasy, even if you broke a sweat or had the adrenalin surge, it was all just in your imagination – not really real, just like all the other worse case scenarios you have been inventing.
Hold that perspective a moment.
Exercise. Whats the best that could happen?
To defeat anxious or depressive hesitation in life we need to start asking what’s the best that could happen? What if this is not only not bad but will be great? Reframe the expectation to a good outcome. Move from ‘what if’ to ‘why not’. Reclaim your life.
Again we can prep for it. Picture an event or scenario you dread, go there in your mind and make it the best-case scenario instead. Close your eyes and dream it big – you are called in to be fired and then they realise on second thoughts you should be promoted, taste the champagne, visualize cashing the bonus. The zombies are gaining, one bites your leg and its head explodes – your blood is toxic to them, you are the cure.
Ok it’s a fantasy, but it is a way to flight simulator some positive outcomes, to train the brain into participating with positive outcomes, to want to actually go and experience some positive outcomes.
Hold that perspective a moment – and into the next – and in the moment to moment of your rewarding and fulfilled life.