I want to share one insight that resonated with me the past week via the meditation app Calm with Tamara Levitt about a way to move difficult emotions. First she suggested to imagine that you are looking out of the window and outside there is a terrible storm as an emotion; thunder rumbles in a distance as bolts of lightning surge down from the sky. Frozen wind howls across the landscape. Trees wrench violently from side to side and torrential rain pours down in icy sheets. As you take in this dramatic scene, you are safely indoors, snuggling under a warm blanket, sipping a cup of hot cocoa. There is an Islandic word that beautifully captures this experience - gluggavedur, which translates as the window weather; the sort of weather best appreciated from the comfort of the indoors. From a distance we can enjoy stormy weather until the sun shines again. When I heard this expression, she reminded me of what the practice of mindfulness is like. It can be helpful to observe our inner storms in the same way. If we could create a little space around the anxiety or worry or negativity, we wouldn’t get caught up in those emotions. From the safe distance we can view our emotional state more objectively and face our emotions in a calm and clear mind. This allows us to simply observe strong emotions arise and subside.
I have always loved dramatic stormy weather from the safety of the indoors since my childhood, looking out of the windows for hours. When I thought of this analogy with various emotions that we experience in our lives, it made perfect sense. Emotions always had its own life and creating drama within itself. They do what they want to do, and they are not me, but my job is to return to my breath, calmly creating some space so that I can observe emotions as a witness understanding that they arise and pass.
As Bryant McGill said, “When the dark clouds of doubt, anger, or worry begin to move upon you, steady yourself in the knowledge that in time the storm will pass.”
The next time you experience that you are swept by a storm of emotions I hope you’ll remember the word Gluggavedur, Knowing that you are simply observing the weather under a warm blanket. At times life feels heavy and difficult for everyone, but we can always choose to be in the moment of now instead of projecting ourselves into the future or the past with negative emotions.
I am drinking hot cocoa with you in the spirit. 😉 Let’s dance in a storm.