What to do about BAD Weather?

Sometimes, I love to just be upset about the weather.  I used to live in South Dakota and the November through March weather would often just make me upset.  Or rather, I would CHOOSE to get upset at this wintry weather.

Any type of weather is a just a circumstance, a circumstance that is largely beyond our control unless we choose to travel away from it.

However, we always can choose how we interpret any given weather circumstance.

Especially challenging are weather circumstances we have looked at in a fixed way so long that the meaning we add to the circumstance seems like a natural part of the circumstance.  For example, I can say that the circumstance “snow” is “awful” as if it is a fact.  The exciting news is that I have the power to separate this circumstance “snow” from my personal interpretation “awful,” which I chose to add to the circumstance “snow.”

A dictionary is a great resource for revealing to us when we add personal interpretations to words.  My dictionary says snow is “precipitation in the form of small white ice crystals formed directly from the water vapor of the air at temperatures less than 32 degrees F.” My dictionary says nothing about snow being “awful” (which kind of makes me want to go out and buy a better dictionary.)

But seriously, my definition of snow being “awful” is exactly that, my definition.  While I can’t change the dictionary definition of what snow is, I do have the option of modifying how I view snow.  For instance, I could change my personal definition of snow to “snow is joyful”.

Now if I really wanted to change how I experienced snow I would need to keep reminding myself that I have chosen to define snow as joyful.  In addition, I would want to find ways of viewing snow and activities that gave substance to my new personal definition of snow.  For example, I could change my view of snow by observing how soft and peaceful snow seems as it falls.  And I could find an activity that I love doing in the snow like snowshoeing and do it on a routine basis whenever there is enough snow on the ground.  In this way, I could with practice change my personal definition of snow.

Weather is just weather.  “Bad” is a word we choose to add to it as we create our personal definition of a weather circumstance.  It takes practice to alter how we experience weather circumstances that we have long chosen to define as “bad.”  But with practice, we can become content with a wider and wider range of weather circumstances.  From this practice with the weather, we can learn how to alter our personal definitions of a wider and wider range of life circumstances so that we experience greater amounts of peace and joy.

Game of the Day

1. Think of a weather condition that you dislike.

2. Look up the definition of this weather condition in your dictionary.

3. Now think of the personal definition that you add to this weather condition?

4. What new personal definition could you create for this weather condition?

5. What ways of physically viewing this weather condition could reinforce your new personal definition?

6. What activities could you do during this weather condition to reinforce your new personal definition?



2 responses

  1. Jason,

    In Ireland, when it’s cloudy, foggy and slightly rainy, the Irish call that a “soft day.” Because Ireland is an island, “soft days” are plentiful.

    A couple years ago when my husband and I traveled to Ireland, we experienced an abundance of “soft days.” Those days didn’t slow us down or keep us from fun activities. Instead, we grabbed our hooded rain jackets, umbrellas, hiking boots, and headed out to explore the most vivid green, beautiful and magical landscape I’ve ever seen.

    I love that the Irish define the predominant weather pattern on their island as “soft days,” a way to embrace it affectionately rather than just complain about it. I’m sure that lots of griping occurs over many a pint of Guinness at the local pubs. But as you point out, it’s our choice how we decide to view the weather. And how we choose to view our life circumstances.

    Thanks for another “power bar” of Jason wisdom! I love getting your column in my email inbox.

    All the best,

  2. Marianne, Your Ireland adventure sounds intensely wonderful and beautiful! How neat that the Irish refer to their rainy weather as “soft days.” Maybe this attitude is part of the reason that people all around the world are drawn to their small nation.

    It is invigorating how much freedom we have to create the world we want to live in!

    All the best,

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