The Sky isn't Falling

The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
~ Chicken Little

Yesterday, they were announcing major storms in our area. The kind of storms where they interrupt your favourite TV show to send three beeps that mute out the dialogue at the most critical moment, and then proceed to tell you that the world is going to end.

Or at least that there is a "severe thunderstorm warning in effect" for your area.

The weather-woman's diagrams were bright, scary red in the danger areas (where we live), and a deep, impending burgundy in the surrounding zones.

It was as if they were announcing the apocalypse.

So, we decided to fire up the barbeque and eat our dinner outside.

After all, if it was the last storm of our life, like so many before it, we might as well enjoy a nice home-cooked meal and the beautiful weather one last time before we were to become human toast.

After dinner, it came. The skies darkened like night, the mile-high trees thrashed and swayed with the apocalyptic winds, and then it began to rain.

This morning, I woke up to find I had survived. Outside my window were calm trees, a blue sky, and the glorious shining sun. I checked around, and everyone else in the house had survived, too. Our neighbours were cutting their lawn, driving off to work, or taking a walk. The world hadn't ended, after all.


The storm felt like a cliché metaphor for our life. So I obviously had to write about it.

When a seemingly catastrophic event arises in our life and we get thrown around, the warning signals are often more dramatic than the actual storm.

There is no doubt that we go through periods of immense sadness, torturous regret, or overwhelming anger in our life. We are, after all, only human. But before those moments happen, we tend to worry agonizingly over things that we think are to come. Often way more than is necessary. (Though we could get in to how none of it is necessary, but that's a whole other blog post.)

We fear the potential relationship breakup; we fear the doctor's potential diagnosis; we fear the inevitable loss of our loved ones. And we try to brace ourselves against the impending doom. And then, when the disaster comes, which it always does in some form, we fear we will never be whole again. We will never smile again. We will never know love, or light, or happiness again. And we get caught up in the spiral of "my world is over."

In the Awakening Joy course I am taking, and in the books I am reading right now, one constant lesson appears: This, too, shall pass; but while this is happening, we should pay attention.

One of the exercises in many of these books is to identify an emotion when it arises, instead of getting caught up in it and fighting it. We often get so confused about our tough-to-deal-with emotions that we lump them all into the "negative" basket. And then we try to shoo them away so they'll leave us alone.

But when we do that, we are not giving them a chance to process, so they get stuck. And we get stuck. And that's when things start spiraling into the danger zone.

But when we label our feelings, and then give ourselves the opportunity to actually feel them without calling them positive or negative, we realize that they are just a passing field of energy through our body.

Just like happiness is.

When we feel something uncomfortable, or that we label as "bad", our thinking brain, which is like the media of our body, tries to tell us: This is not a good feeling and I want it to stop, and what if it doesn't stop, and this may be how I feel forever and ever, and the world is going to end.

But if we would just sit quietly and listen to what our body is saying, the feeling - whether "good" or "bad" - would come, and then it would go.

And the world wouldn't end.

There may be some debris, but we would survive.

So the next time there is a severe storm warning in effect in your area (whether actual or in your own mind), turn off the media (external and internal), and remember:

The sky is not falling; it's just a little rain.