sunshine and rainLast Saturday we had rain! Glorious rain! We, here in the California Central Valley, rejoiced even if it soaked our morning outing. Sunshine is great but we are so thankful for the rain!

Strangely though, we panic when our emotional lives receive rain. We are a nation in the “the pursuit of happiness.” Cloudy rainy emotions don’t seem to fit. We may resort to denial, busy-ness, or drugs, only to get more frustrated when we can’t avoid them.

Let’s explore how stormy, cloudy, and rainy emotions are our friends. Friends for whom we don’t have apologize. Friends who help us learn to love.

Anger serves as our friend because it helps us know when a line, real or perceived, has been crossed. It helps us to get clearer, set boundaries, become assertive, and tell the truth. If we treat anger like it’s bad, then, ironically, we may end up treating ourselves, or others, poorly by becoming hurtfully too aggressive or too passively unclear.

Confusion is our friend because it slows us down and shows us what we don’t understand. By admitting our confusion we can then ask better questions and learn new approaches to living. As kids we may have avoided the embarrassment of appearing confused by conforming, joining cliques, or gangs, in order to feel included, protected and cool.  If we continue this trend into adulthood we may lose the awkward, confusing joy of risking and following the abundant, new paths of our true calling.

Sorrow is our friend because it helps us let go and forgive. IF you’ve ever had a good cry you know that afterwards you feel much better as your burden is lifted. As children we may heard “Quit feeling sorry for yourself!” Yet sorrow slows us down and helps us honor our losses and our lives. It’s like the humorous, sweet story told at a friend’s funeral that has us crying and laughing at the same time.

Fear is, surprisingly, a friend too. It is the littlest, most vulnerable, and child-like emotion. Admitting fear breaks through all the judgment we received as kids for being  ‘fraidy-cats, scaredy-cats, wimps, wusses, and cry babies. When we befriend ourselves again at this level, we can often find the childlike faith and love that make fear flee and joy return.

We may have been taught that we are bad if we have these emotions. Truth is, we may behave badly if we don’t make friends and learn from them. They are the rain that waters and renews the dry valleys of our inner selves.

Please email me your thoughts if you’d like. I want to read, think about them, and respond.