Benjamin Zander, author, motivational speaker, and conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, often quotes his father as saying that "there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing."
I live on the seacoast of New Hampshire about an hour north of Boston, and when winter brings day after day of snow, cold, and the ubiquitous icy mix, I plaster this phrase to the inside of my brain.
No bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.
And I remember how much fun the skiers are having an hour north. I watch children building their snow forts, snowmen, and snow-everything from one end of the neighborhood to the other. Sometimes, when the snow is deep and white and still falling, I venture out and make a snow angel. (It's always fun to try and get out of the snow angel without messing it up.)
So I guess Mr. Zander's dad is right.
Tom Crum always says, "It's not what happens to us, it's what we do with what happens to us" that makes the difference in life. It's true. I've been sick all week with the flu, and although it wasn't fun to have a fever, chills, aches, and pains, once I relaxed into it, it was kind of like being on vacation, catching up on fun reading, bad television, and good movies. The more I relaxed, the quicker I returned to health.
Writers, artists, and philosophers through the ages have suggested the same thing: that we invent our reality from moment to moment:
“We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.”
"I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it."
~Dr. Charles Swindoll
"We can change our circumstances by a mere change of our attitude."
"I discovered I always have choices, and sometimes it’s only a choice of attitude."
~Judith M. Knowlton
"An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered."
The dream you are living is your creation. It is your perception of reality that you can change at any time. You have the power to create hell, and you have the power to create heaven.
~Don Miguel Ruiz
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
"It's all invented."
Yet we struggle with what is. We love some of it, and we resist a lot. External circumstances are the "what is" of life. Whether we want them to or not, they exist. How we view, interpret, and acknowledge "what is" makes the difference between feeling empowered or victimized. We're inventing life moment to moment: a life of stress and struggle or one filled with gratitude and grace.
One recourse when the "what is" of life becomes difficult to bear is to return to the present, follow your breath in and out of the body, and think of something you're thankful for. Other somethings will follow.
Buddhist writers are fond of saying that life is painful, suffering is optional.
You have more power than you think.