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Rain and Reactions

The weather was lovely today. Except when it wasn’t. The moment when it wasn’t was about 5 minutes after I set out on my bike for my daily exercise.


The switch from warm sun to torrential rain (and some hailstones) was rapid and unexpected. I was soaked through in seconds.

“F**king rain”, I said out loud, with even more force than I might otherwise as I had only just cleaned my bike and replaced the chain and cassette. Surely I deserve at least a few rides out before it gets covered in road ming (*technical term) again? For the next 15 minutes the conditions didn’t change - it rained hard.


And yet my mood changed a lot. From moment to moment my emotions flipped between rage at the injustice of it (like that even makes any sense), humour from the fact that I was wetter than an otter’s pocket, joy for the sense of adventure and concern for the various electronic gadgets on my bike and in my pockets. My AirPods! My beautiful AirPods! I experienced pain from the rain washing who-knows-what from the covid-created mop on my head, fear at the risk of hitting a pothole hidden under running water, and at times indifference.


The situation didn’t change, but my emotions and my responses certainly did.


When we remember, in the moment, that we can choose our response to an event or situation, a whole world of other possible responses open up. We don’t have to be slave to our habitual, reactive, conditioned tendencies.


So often the problems in our lives are only problems from a certain perspective. It may seem glib and clichéd to say it but there is always a gift or opportunity in an event or situation. There is always another perspective that connects us with something more empowering. There might be an opportunity to learn something new, or be inspired to take action we wouldn’t otherwise, or even to use it as an opportunity to build our resilience to such conditions.


Ultimately, despite my (not particularly dramatic) rollercoaster of emotions on my bike ride, I’m glad I went out. At times I chose humour and joy, as well as experiencing my default reaction of being annoyed, and I fulfilled a promise to myself to get regular exercise.

Jon


This article is part of 100 Days of Creation, my challenge to myself to write 100 articles in 140 days, each taking no longer than 30 minutes to write and publish.

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