Rain, Stillness and the Power of Connection

Spring Season Pacific Northwest Style

I am sitting on the couch with a fire going in the wood burning stove and the steady fall of rain outside my windows. Welcome to the spring season in the Pacific Northwest. As the sky drops more and more rain, the world becomes greener and brighter.

In the 24 years I have lived in the Pacific Northwest, I have learned to love this time of year so much. The chill dampness and consistent rainfall keeps us inside… still… even after a long winter.

Rather than feeling suffocating and dreary, this time has come to feel like a cleansing of the earth, a necessary cleanse supporting new growth.

And the shift of light lasting a little longer each day confirms for me that life is fluid. Things come and go. Change is what allows growth.

Quiet

Today, this Saturday in April, my husband and I started the day like all Saturdays with coffee and quiet. We are both introverts so our mornings are particularly still as we greet the new day.

After awhile we chatted about how to spend the day. We agreed to take our beloved basset hound for a walk, but after that we had no formal commitments or definite schedules.

We went through the possibilities how we could spend our time. We discussed all the tasks and chores needing our attention. But none of those seemed particularly appealing to us today.

Slowly, we came to the conclusion that perhaps today was a day of rest; a day to allow ourselves the pleasure of more sitting by the fire while the rain fell. More coffee, more quiet, and more freedom to just BE. Less busyness, less doing, less pushing to produce, complete, accomplish.

Letting Go of the Need to Accomplish

We decided to do just this. And it was deeply nourishing. Except at first. At first, I felt anxious. I had to replay in my head this message several times: “Its okay to rest. It’s okay to slow down. Its okay to keep the tasks untended to for today.”

It was hard to let go of the strong pull and desire to fill my time “productively”. But the more I let go, the more I was aware of the calming sound of the steady rain and the stillness of the trees. The more I was aware that all of nature moves in rhythmic cycles of quiet, production, growth, rest.

The Value of Intentional Emptiness

I discovered an ease waiting for me in the letting go. I discovered a peaceful, quiet space. In this peaceful, quiet space, I discovered that a life well lived must contain moments of intentional emptiness.

Connection Thrives in Awareness

One of the things that stood out to me in the intentional emptiness created this rainy afternoon, was that my husband and I shared a deeper connection because of the open space we created together. The more we were aware of ourselves, the more we felt connected together.

In not filling the space and time of our day with to do’s or chores or even light puttering like we usually do on Saturdays, we allowed the day to nurture us and thereby felt more attuned to each other’s presence.

We read, we rested our bodies and minds, we had snacks when we felt hungry, and we allowed the day to naturally unfold.

Throughout the afternoon, we intermittently put down our books and shared random thoughts. We shared thoughts about what we were reading, which led to deeper conversations about life and ourselves. We shared our gratitude for the day. We shared our happiness in just being.

When Busyness Distracts

I realized that we would not have connected like this if we just filled up the day with busyness and chores. Not that chores and tasks and completing things are not important. They are. But when they serve to distract us from ourselves, and keep us disconnected from each other, they no longer serve us very well.

The Moments of Our Lives

We all only have the present moment. We all have a choice in how we spend each moment of our lives.

One of my favorite poets and philosophers, John O’Donohue, said, “How we spend our moments become our lives.”

In choosing to BE in the quiet moments, we become more open to ourselves, to each other, and to the gift of life.

Thank you Saturday April 14, 2018 for everything you offered and contained, just waiting to be discovered in the still, quiet moments of BEING.

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Jane Ryan

Jane Ryan, M.A., LMFT, is a Licensed Couple and Family Therapist with twenty years of clinical experience and a speciality in helping couples navigate the challenges of intimate relationships. Jane also has a sub-specialty of helping couples navigate the relational and sexual effects of breast cancer.