Thursday, October 15, 2015


When my brother was visiting in August he talked about "the weather of the soul" and how sometimes instead of trying to figure out what's causing our internal "bad weather," we can just watch it and wait it out, because weather always changes.

I'm not very good at watching soul-weather; I'm more of an untrained meteorologist... and I like to control things, especially things inside of me.

At the beach this summer, the ocean was sloppy and crashing.  Ben would have a full vocabulary for the waves -- crumbly or soft, mushy or peaky -- but what they looked like to me was messy.  Even when the sea was glassy in the sunrise, promising, the red flags flapped incessantly, and the lifeguards leaned down to tell us "riptides."  It was is if the tides and wind couldn't quite coordinate; waves drove at each other from opposite directions and spray flew.  Then at some point the sandbar would emerge, and the whitecaps would quiet a bit.  And the next day, they'd kick back up.

I've had some of that red-flag weather, driving along and suddenly seeing that all four tires are flashing on the dashboard near-flat -- the waves start kicking every which way, and the wind is so loud.  And though the gas station is not half a mile away, the thought of stopping, even the thought, feels like too much.

And then some hours later, air and gas refilled, I am playing music and loading girls into the back of the car, handing cheese sticks over my shoulder and balancing their wet canvases on the dashboard, reveling in the leaves that keep raining from the trees.

It's like that: weather.

I have found myself saying "no" to more things than ever -- no to happy hour or dinner, to a speaker I want to hear, a Costco run, coffee, people.

Yesterday a friend reminded me to be gentle with myself.  Why do we need this reminder?  The yoga teacher echoed that fall is tricky, that we need to move slowly into weeks, drink warm things, create routine.  That all sounds pretty right.

So I've been saying "yes" to some other things -- sitting alone in the coffee shop with my computer, making a cup of tea (and another), going to bed.  Pulling into the gas station when I feel like I can't, because it helps hold the day together.

Right now I'm having my own secret happy hour in the corner of the kitchen -- a glass of wine and some cheetos I "bought for Silas."

In comfort-seeking I'm trying to remember which things actually nourish and which just comfort for a second (wine and cheese puffs) -- but they are ok sometimes too.  I'm practicing giving myself permission.

A friend just wrote to me about her "alternate rebellion."  She said she's waking up to how much pressure and guilt she heaps on herself about every little thing (putting something back in the grocery store in the wrong place), so she's striking out against the urge "do everything right": she's spitting gum in the bushes, leaving the hall light on all day and night.  If the store is out of organic milk (which mine is ALL the time), buy regular and keep on.  It sounds minimal, but I think we have no idea how many twigs of guilt we pile on -- and you know what they say about the camel...

This summer I bought my niece a pair of black and white leggings with big pandas all over them, kind of like photographs printed on.  And then I had a crappy day, and they were still on the floor of my room, so I put them on and claimed them.  They're now the pants I wear in the face of gloom.  There aren't a lot of other women my age at the grocery store wearing such pants, but it's like that, it's part of the permission as I weather the weather.

How do you weather the weather these days?  I'd love to know.


Carrie P said...

This is beautiful. And timely. I recently read about breathing into the "weather-filled" spaces, embracing them, moving with them. It's when I resist that the tumult sets in and I feel helpless, alone. Today I find refuge in the quiet spaces: yoga, the 5 minutes before children wake, pausing to soak in a beautiful song or poem mid-day.

Sally said...

Hi Bronwen - some how when I check in with your blog, your thoughts mirror mine on many occasions. Today is one of those days. It is wonderful to feel that I am not trudging along alone. The weather is a big one here in VT. There will be cold crisp air, then a quick change and higher temps and rain and the damp wet inside of old houses that makes me feel physically sick. The leaves are dropping quickly and we will be in "stick season" soon - waiting for the snow.

The gloom of fall I guess should give us time to pause and reflect. But making and finding the time is hard. I have been you with the almost flat tires stressing about stopping and handling it as it is yet another task to manage. thanks for your thoughts today. Would love to have some wine and cheetos with you sometime!