Monday, August 24, 2009

Soul-Trying Weather

While hiking in the rain over the weekend, I pondered the question: How does weather affect spirituality?

I have to confess that I love fair weather. Ideal weather for me is sunny, low humidity and in the 70's. Fortunately, in Connecticut we enjoy this kind of weather about half of the year.

However, for the past month, we've had to suffer with my least favorite kind of weather: tropical. It's been hot, humid and very muggy. After a rowing workout I feel like a rung-out washrag. After hiking, I have to change my shirt because I'm drenched.

Such unpleasant weather is a challenge for mindfulness and, thus, for spirituality. On my two hikes over the weekend, not only was it hot and muggy, small black flies were trying to bite my eyes (the only place where insect repellent couldn't be applied). Tropical heat and insects are not ingredients for finding a spiritual connection in nature!

These obstacles are challenges for the soul. My goal is to overcome these obstacles by employing mindfulness. But, it's not easy. When I'm distracted by physical discomfort, I tend to focus on the wrong things. Overcoming discomfort and experiencing a spiritual connection takes practice.

Such obstacles teach me that life doesn't have to always be perfect to experience gratitude and joy. In fact, if you wait for perfect conditions for mindfulness, you might only have a few opportunities a year! Overcoming obstacles and meeting challenges help the soul to grow in depth and richness. While it's not easy, it is worth the effort.

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