Gift Yourself A Rainy Day
Normally, summertime in the mountains is marked by generous rainfall. With so much greenery, the earth here grows used to the daily drinks of thunderstorms. But recently we didn’t see a drop of rain for weeks on end. Every day was sunny, hot, and almost unbearably chipper. Each day of blue skies seemed to require action—mulching, weeding, socializing, running errands. By week two, the earth had gotten so dry I could crumble the soil like overdone teacake, and I was beginning to wear at the edges as well. I wasn’t sure what was wrong at first. The days were beautiful, and yet I was becoming irritated by the smallest things. Like a cast iron left too long on a stove, or a plant forgotten in an over-hot window, the very body of me felt stressed. One night I was cooling down after a long, hot stretch of a day, when a voice came to me and said simply….
Gift yourself a rainy day.
It doesn’t matter what is going on outside of you. You have the opportunity at any moment to create a day of rainy rest.
It felt as if my whole body melted and said yes.
No matter what climate we live in, we all have the tendency to overschedule and inadvertently create drought-times for our spirit. Like one day of blue skies after another, we feel guilty not getting things done. We worry that we are wasting our life if we don’t use every hour constructively. Though many things may get accomplished during these strict days of endless sunshine, without a rainy day every once in a while, our spirit, like our flower gardens, can begin to wither.
The next day I set aside an afternoon and asked myself: what would I do today if it were absolutely pouring rain?
The answer was: not much at all.
I laid on the couch with my comforter and thumbed through the stack of eight different books I’m currently “reading.” I looked out the window and made a cup of tea. I rested my body, I contemplated, I turned my attention inwards and checked in with the parts of me that were begging for a day of stillness. I closed the shutters and put on soft piano music and created an imaginal world in which I could really rest— if only for the evening.
And the very next day, the rains finally came.
If you’ve ever lived somewhere that experiences droughts, you know the distinct, body-filling joy, of finally receiving some rain. That first day of rain was a completely different kind of celebration than the festivity of a sunny day. It went much deeper. It was a jubilee that went all the way down to the roots. A long drink that replenished something that can only be re-filled with that kind of pause. In between the great gusts of rain I went out for a walk and it was truly as if the forest had become a different place. In just a few hours, the woods had changed color and shape. I hadn’t even realized how dusty, tired and narrow the green of the trees had become. After the rain, it was as if everything opened, widened, emanating a rich emerald scent.The delight in a day of rain, a day of rest, a day of taking a long slow drink, is palpable.
I think we need this reminder as frequently as the fuchsias on my porch need a good pitcher of water (which is often). How many times do we feel that sense of getting dusty and tired, and yet forget how to feel nourished again? How often, in the midst of the busy season, do we experience that narrowing of patience, imagination and hope and forget that it is only the side-effect of too many days without rest or rain?
No matter what the weather is doing outside your windows, is it possible that all you really need to feel centered, hopeful, happy and whole once again is to give yourself a day of rain?
What would your ideal rainy day look like? Would it be full of knitting or movie marathons? Or perhaps baking a batch of oatmeal cookies and stretching out with a good book? Close your eyes now (just for a moment) and ask your body and spirit what it would like to do on this rain holiday. And then give yourself the gift of this replenishment. Perhaps this evening or tomorrow morning. Close the drapes, put on the soundtrack of rain. Let the relaxation of non-doing soak all the way down to the roots and replenish your spirit again.
Because I promise, on the other side, the colors of your life— the fruits, and flowers, and birdsong, and opportunities for growth— only become more vivid. So feed all that coming goodness by gifting yourself this day of exquisite, life-giving, holy, and oh-so-very-needed rain.