Finding Joy in the Rain
It was raining out. My kids, Layla & Conley, ages 6 and 4, said they wanted to go outside in the rain. I said no. Right away. “Please mom?! Please can we go outside?!” Why did I say no so quickly?
“Oh, okay,” I say reluctantly. As I am saying this I don’t know why I say it reluctantly. Why not let them play in the rain?
I would want to play in the rain. They started cheering and celebrating in the rain and I couldn’t contain myself. I started laughing and enjoying the rain with them. Then I snapped this picture of them. It captured the moment so well: pure joy. The joy of a child enjoying something as simple as rain. It is so absolutely beautiful. And slow. Peaceful. We don’t often enjoy this. If you don’t have children, you may never have these opportunities to be interrupted with your bustling work day or schedule. You have things to do! People to see! Emails and texts to send!
So often the “have to” things come before the “get to” things. Living every day and moment of our lives this way seems backwards. When we allow ourselves to rest, laugh, and experience joy- our bodies, minds and souls are rejuvenated. We return to our work, schedule, or whatever obligations we have with renewed energy. We are more efficient when we allow ourselves to experience joy, laughter, and connection with others.
I think some of us are so lost in the daily grind that we have lost sight of finding joy in the simple things – even a rainy day. I encourage you to try and seek those simple opportunities to experience joy. Our despair doesn’t leave after one little splash in the rain, but it helps. If we’re always waiting for the storms to pass, we miss out on a lot of life. We may not all have children of our own, but we were all a child once. Perhaps we can reach for that childlike joy in the simple things when we’re feeling down.
How can you shift from a hopeless and dreary place in the rain to find joy? Here are some helpful tips to get you there:
- Start somewhere. Take that first step into that place of uncertainty. This is the hardest step. In Timothy Ferriss’s book, “The 4-Hour Workweek”, he says that “Most people choose unhappiness over uncertainty.” We don’t know nor can we control the outcome, but we have to trust that some sort of fun “risk” is going to be worth it. Some ideas to start:
- Google funny animal or baby videos to watch. Laugh out loud over them.
- Think about a moment with a friend that you laughed so hard you almost peed your pants. Or did.
- Play some fun music and dance. Doesn’t matter if you are by yourself. No one will see you and who cares if they do. Just do it! Your body will thank you!
- Journal your feelings and desires. What brings you joy? What stirs your soul? What are you grateful for?
- Accept that YOU ARE ENOUGH just where you are. You don’t need to strive, perform or do anything. You are enough in the midst of struggle, depression, anxiety, panic, pain, sadness, arguments, anything. We sometimes think we have to “arrive” somewhere to be enough. This is not true. Allow the truth to set in that you are enough today.
- Pray/Meditate. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, “It has been found that 12 minutes of daily focused prayer over an eight-week period can change the brain to such an extent that it can be measured on a brain scan.” When we take time to be silent, our true self can come forth and that includes peace and joy. We can shake out the stress that feels so big compared to the peace that allows joy in.
- Talk about your emotions with a friend. Be vulnerable about what brings you joy. Joy is a vulnerable place. We are taking a chance that when we share our joy, it may not be heard or well received. So we may tell ourselves that it’s not even worth trying to share our joy. Take the chance and share. The birthplace of joy, belonging and love is vulnerability (Brene Brown).
- Keep it consistent. If you “try” something fun once a month or even less than that, the concept of joy doesn’t have a chance of becoming familiar, making it hard to find the value in it. Consistency is key. Even if you don’t “feel” like it, make sure to practice something that encourages you and livens you daily. It takes 21 days of focused thinking about one thought to form that neural pathway. It takes 63 days of thinking about that thought every day to permanently wire that belief or thought in and to get it to become what naturally drives us without having to think. Timothy Ferriss says, “Lack of time is actually lack of priorities”. It’s worth taking the time every day to bring real transformation.
- Picture yourself as a child. What characteristics do you enjoy about that child? What do you like about yourself? What does that child want to do to “play”? Engage in the imagination of your child self playing. Notice the joy that bubbles up inside. That child is now an adult and still needs play. Still deserves to laugh, relax and rest.
When I was having a bad attitude about my kids playing in the rain I didn’t beat myself up. Perfection doesn’t exist and I embrace my imperfections so I can grow. Maybe next time I will jump right in. I allowed that child-like self within me to enjoy the play my kids naturally desired in the rain. Kids don’t even have to try to play. They just do. Who we naturally are desires connection with others, love, peace and joy. “April showers bring May flowers” is a very common message we say this month. Allow yourself to fully embrace where you are at in the rain. Permit yourself to be vulnerable enough to experience joy. Awaken yourself to find joy through the rain.