I woke up to the sound of rain pouring outside. It would have been an ordinary morning except for the less than perfect weather. The dogs needed to walk, and since we seldom ever miss the morning trek, I put on my rain boots, rain gear, and we headed out the door. I will not lie and say I was excited because I wasn’t, but I made the most of that walk. I generally use my mornings with the dogs as a time for idea generation because it is during those walks that I often come up with some of my most incredible ideas. However, I used that time to do a little splashing in the water and some reflecting on this day.
What did I think about, you ask.
First, I had to answer why I am walking in the rain with the dogs. Many wouldn’t bother with this trek. I could have easily said forget it, or we could attempt this later. It was messy out there. I didn’t want to get wet. But my dogs don’t care that I am not excited about not walking them. We do it every day, and that is part of their routine. Besides, I wasn’t getting dolled up to go to a party. It was 6 in the morning, after all. So to answer that question, I fell back on my rationalization that they count on me to keep their routine intact, and I hate breaking their routine.
I also thought about how this would have been a perfect moment of bliss as a child. I would not have given any thought to putting my boots on and heading outside. I would have jumped over hurdles if my mom had encouraged me to play in the rain. Children are so carefree living in the moment, yet we lose sight of this concept as adults because we are so busy being task-oriented. Life forces us to do that to pay the bills and take care of our families. So we drop the carefree side of ourselves to becomes slaves to our task-oriented habits.
Then I thought about how we place our happiness on so many existential things like having bigger homes, better jobs, and the ideal relationship. Now I am not saying we shouldn’t strive for those things. We should thrive, but there is value in living in the moment and embracing the process. How can we find happiness if we wait for an object to arrive, the perfect scenario to play out, or the result to happen? We will continue to be disappointed because we are always looking for what’s next.
So my thoughts are……
Life is a journey. We heard this, and we often miss the lessons unless those lessons smack us in the face. They have to be pretty traumatic to have an impact. However, the triumph comes when we can recognize what we gain during adversity or discomfort. The magic isn’t in the result. The magic is in the process of getting to that result. It is in solving our problems. It is training that takes us to the race that makes us truly happy.
That morning walk was another reminder of that message. I didn’t want to take a walk in the rain, but I had time to play in the water, and in doing so, I had time to think about how fun this would have been as a child. I had time to think about things that perhaps I may not have taken the time to ponder if not in that situation. Had I focused solely on getting back to the house because it would make me happy, it might have been a very long and tedious walk.
When you can learn to embrace the journey, you can also embrace all that comes with it, both good and bad. You no longer put all the energy into the result. The end becomes the icing on the cake, but it doesn’t define you. It gives you the freedom to live in the moment and make mistakes. It allows you to pivot and look at experiences as growth opportunities. Sure, you set goals because you need an end but learning to enjoy the process will give you more peace of mind. Because when things don’t go as planned as they often do, you know you still gained.
How do you learn to do this?
It’s a process and, of course, a practice of being mindful. I generally suggest that my clients focus on writing down two to three things they are thankful for daily and one to two wins daily. With this activity, you train your mind to find something you are grateful for and things you can celebrate. Fear can never reside in the same place with gratitude. This continued habit over time will force you to be thankful and mindful of what you are doing, and through that process, you will become better able to enjoy your journey. You can now practice living in the moment.
For more on the topic of gratitude journals, check out “How to Start a Gratitude Journal.”
I think we all should play in the rain every once in a while. Let’s bring out the inner child and do a little splashing in the water. Just make sure that there is no lightning.