I hope this finds you well on this watery week.
On Monday, I led my first event with a group of 13 year olds at St John’s College school in Cambridge – on possibly the rainiest day we’ve had here for 6 months!
My first thought that day was “Heavy rain all day! What am I going to do with them?”. I felt disappointed and frustrated.
Still, I stopped myself in my ‘autopilot’ tracks, put a raincoat on and went to sit in the garden.
I paid attention to the physical sensations of my breath.
I paid attention to how I was feeling and noticed the associated narratives in my mind.
In particular, I noticed myself wanting to avoid the rain as my body tensed up and my mind wished it away.
I opened up to tune into my direct experience of the rain. I noticed what it looked like, the ripples, the droplets, the shapes of its free-fall. I listened to its sound, I tasted it and I felt it on my hands as I opened them up to receive the water from the sky.
Something I’ve explored in many of my events before then came to mind: the water I was experiencing was the same as the water in my body. We share air, water, solid matter and energy within our natural body with the rest of the natural world. The body is in a constant process of receiving and releasing these natural elements from the natural world around us. We aren’t separate.
So I brought my attention to my experience of water within my body : saliva in my mouth, moisture of my outbreath and began to imagine the blood flowing through my body and the water bathing every single cell. I’m made of over 60% of water.
I invited the ‘avoidance tension’ in my body to release. I began to feel a gentle sense of nourishing, invigoration and aliveness. The separation between myself and the rain dissolved a little and I began to relax into the experience.
That afternoon, I explored this with the children at the school in the playground. At the end of the session, one of the girls shared “I’ve never thought about nature in that way, that we are part of it” and another reflected “It feels that nature is really a home”.
Why not try it? Go and sit or walk mindfully in the rain. You can always have a warm shower afterwards. How do you feel about the rain now?