Lightning Storms In Late Winter

 

A few weeks ago, we had a lightning storm here in the mountains. It was still February, but an eerie warm front had swept through, melting the hillsides and changing the texture of the sky. I was sitting on the couch drinking a cup of tea when suddenly the clouds began flickering. I looked out the window, open-mouthed. Was that…. lightning?? It was a strange feeling, to see an electrical storm in late winter. It felt like time itself was bending. I was enchanted and confused, and maybe a bit scared. But mostly, I was charged.

Our lives have their own kind of weather patterns. There are times of mildness and easeful sunshine that touch you gently. And then there are winds that cut across your collarbones and unexpected lightning storms. In a way, life is one big weather event after another. Each time a storm comes in we get to witness what touches us, what gets under our skin.

We are so often told that there is good and bad weather. Just as we try to avoid “bad” weather, we are similarly programmed to avoid the squalls of “negative” emotions in our lives. But what if there is no such thing as good and bad? What if there is only neutral and charged? And what if that charge, like an electrical socket you fear to touch, is actually a conduit that has the ability to illuminate your real power?

If you are looking to grow in leaps and bounds, like lightning moving over the desert, you don’t have to dig very deep, or even venture very far, just find the charge.

 

 

You know a charge when you feel it, as surely as a shock from a flimsy socket. The charged things in our lives stop us in our tracks. They are stupefying, confusing, electric, and sometimes painful. But one thing is sure, when something is charged you know it because you react to it. My partner makes an offhand comment about the meal. Zing, a charge.  I watch a story on the news about insect extinction. Zap, a charge. I gaze longingly at my friend’s dream vacation in Bali while I’m stuck at home cleaning the bathrooms. Boom, this is a charge.

The amazing thing is, the very moment you are able to name it as a charge is the moment it begins to loosen its grip on you. Sometimes if we can just name the sensation, instead of immediately assigning meaning, we can actually begin to see where the pressure front is coming from.

The funny part about the word “charge” is the way it makes the hard things not only bearable, but approachable. In our language, we often cloak charges in judgment. The things or people that trigger us are challenging, painful, annoying, depressing, unfair and uncomfortable. But, like lightning rumbling in the belly of a cloud, all charges actually come from within. They are signals from our emotional selves that this material is somehow important for you, and, if approached with self-compassion, charges will help you identify where you have blocked your own life force.

There are, of course, positive charges as well, such as joy, love, excitement, and passion. The problem is that most of us spend our lives trying to juice up on the good charge— falling in love, watching our children grow, seeing a rainbow— and avoid the bad charges, including the things that trigger sadness, anger, guilt or fear. But what if the “negative” charges held just as much healing for us, or even more? If you can stay curious, a charge can illuminate even the most dimly lit corners of your self-awareness.

 

 

The shift from winter into spring is a charged time. It’s as if a vast electrical pulse starts to move through the earth and all the dormant things, the daffodils and the mosquitoes both, begin to stir. Spring asks us to step out of the quietude of winter and be open to the electricity of life, and all the charges that can bring.

It’s normal to be reluctant to lean into what jolts you, but we often forget that charges were never meant to be permanent. They can be as quick as a flame, or as brief as spring, if we only allow ourselves to feel them. It is, after all, rare for lightning to strike twice. If you can let a charge move through you completely, you will find so much power, and freedom, waiting for you on the other side.

Recently I had an old friend reach out to reconnect. We have been through a lot, this friend and I. You could say the karma runs deep. While we were talking the old patterns started to come up, the ways of interacting with each other that would usually send me into fits of exasperation or defensiveness. I amazed even myself when I felt… neutral. The very comments that used to trigger spasms of pain and self-doubt in me, no longer did. I wasn’t triggered. I wasn’t frustrated. I wasn’t charged. I was free. Free to love them exactly as they are, and free to love myself and the way that my truth differed from theirs. The same energy that once charged me with defensive pain was now helping me to see my own patterns of self-criticism and people pleasing. That same energy was free to illuminate a new way of being. And I embraced its warming electricity wholeheartedly.

What is making you feel charged this month? Where are your inner storms of emotions originating? And can you begin to, instead of avoiding them, actually move towards them? Can you embrace them like a lightning storm in late winter, allowing all that energy to ground you in the possibility of unequivocal self-acceptance? Because real freedom comes when the things that used to shake you, no longer hold any juice. When you are willing to walk into the lightning storm and let it touch you, change you, teach you and then release you to walk brightly into a flower-filled spring.

 

 

12 Comments

  • yesterday a friend said something to me that made me feel that deep deep insecure feeling that I hate feeling. I spent some time quietly identifying the thought that was triggering me. it was that people don’t want to be my friend. I’m needy…. i sat with that and questioned it and flipped it around until I could see that people do want to be my friend and that community is abundant. I felt SO MUCH BETTER!!!! I sat with the feeling of having abundant community and just imagined the times when I felt that way. it has been times when I was in a leadership position. something clicked for me and I realized that that is my home. … its hard to describe here the epiphany I felt, but something became clear to me that I don’t think ever has before. all because I just allowed myself to feel this “negative” feeling and to sit with it and question it. then I walked into the grocery store and a man walked up to me and started talking to me and asked for my number! that hasn’t happened in over three months!

  • The electrical storm brought on a storm of great writing!’

    I marvel and am wondering how you reached this state of equanimity with things that were once so “charged”.
    It is obvious you have done much soul searching and were able to see what caused the charges so you could change that.

    At the risk of being too personal; I struggle with reactivity but try to meditate and practice mindfulness to allow grounding. It would be interesting to know your path to freedom.

    I hope you will write more on what actions you have taken to work thru charges.
    For now I am grateful to know that there is a calm after the storm and there is freedom from
    “negative” patterns.

    Thank You for sharing your truth and insights with us!

    • How wonderful Myra! I find words almost always help me find where the charge is hidden. Unfiltered journaling is a practice that has been invaluable for me to see the charges that run through my life. Also, mindfulness meditation and movement. Practices where I can both recognize what I’m feeling, and allow my body to physically process and release it. If other folks are reading this and have suggestions I’d love to hear their go-to practices as well. I am so grateful you took the time to share here Myra.

      • I re-read this article and found your words about being in “judgement” about what charges us.
        Yes; if only we can release our quickness to judge!

        Love your idea of movement and journal writing as conscious choices to go toward the triggers and work thru them.

        I get it now that the charges if we allow them; can be the wound in us where the healing can come in.
        Those little moments where we can drop the anger, sadness, grievance to see that there are lessons to be learned waiting for us.

        Truth be told I keep many of your blog posts in my “favorites” to re-read. Yes, they are that good!
        Thank You Again
        Myra

      • just last night I woke sometime after midnight with h e a r t b u r n ( I never have had heartburn in my life ) I wasn’t content to assume it just ‘too much juniper in the seasoning’ . I began what has become my physical process for going deeper or opening further. Beyond just breathing I r e l a x my face ( blown away by how huge that is ) then I move to an ‘Open the heart’ ( maybe a better word is e x p a n d ) but there
        is a physical sense to it. Lastly it is to merely open my palms to both allow room for a letting go as well a receiving. I was given both insight and resolve, in what seemed a matter of moments, and was soon back to sleep. Bless you

  • here the wind has been blowing
    howling upon the wind chimes
    relentless
    all night
    when I hear
    in the early morning
    “Let Go.”
    not even sure of what I’m releasing
    maybe it just the willingness to
    suddenly outside my window
    all is still

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