One of my teachers, Jonathan Foust says emotions only last about 60 seconds. If in the first 60 seconds we can witness the experience without getting wrapped up in our mind, we will have an easier time being with the feeling. In this same vein, I recently read that we should think of our emotions like the weather – “it’s just weather and weather passes”. We can even give definitions of weather to what we are feeling.
Have you ever felt under the weather? Been under a blanket of fog or thrown a lightning tantrum? Have you been flattened by an emotional squall or felt like a cheery sunny day? You get what I mean right? Where I live, I am blessed with being able to see for miles in all directions. It allows me the opportunity to really watch the weather come and go. Often I can see the rain happening all around me but at my house. The double rainbows, lightning storms and foreboding clouds as well as the glorious blue sky with white fluffy clouds (a Georgia O’Keefe sky) are spectacular. I never want to live somewhere again where my views are blocked by trees and houses. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to stay right here and see everything as it shifts and moves.
The nice thing about the weather is it changes. Here in Santa Fe we are in the middle of our monsoon season. It can be raining one moment and the next moment we have full sunshine. One day it pelted golf-ball sized hail, it looked like white gumballs all over my yard. The next hour they were all gone. This monsoon weather happens or threatens to happen everyday for about six weeks each summer.
Yoganand, my other teacher since 2001, often speaks of “the moment”. He says, “this is how it is in this moment, it will be different in the next moment.” He encourages us to be with this moment knowing it will change. This cue works great when our yoga practice feels challenging but also is helpful off the mat when our lives unfold in ways we aren’t expecting or when we have moments of frustration, anger, sadness or any emotion at all. Or you could say, “it’s only weather, it will change.”
The next time you feel frustration, anger or anything else, try within the first 60 seconds to watch your response to whatever it is and see if you can say to yourself, this is what X feels like at this moment.
The storm will pass, or it might pick up in intensity. The great thing is we get to keep watching the weather or moment.